Support waning for Italy's traditional parties: poll

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2012 11:42 AM
Support waning for Italy's traditional parties: poll

ROME (Reuters) - Two thirds of Italians are undecided about whom to vote for in parliamentary elections due next spring, or are intending to abstain or cast a protest vote, a survey showed on Sunday.

The poll, published in Corriere della Sera, showed that only 36 percent of Italians say they plan to vote for a traditional party such as Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom party and the center-left Democratic Party.

National elections are due by April next year and Prime Minister Mario Monti, who leads a government of unelected technocrats, has said he wants to return to academe and does not intend to run for office.

Monti replaced former Prime Minister Berlusconi last November when the euro zone debt crisis pushed Italy close to a Greek-style meltdown. Since then he has launched an austerity program to shore up public finances but is now grappling with a deep recession.

Uncertainty about what will follow Monti's government is worrying investors, who fear a new government of elected politicians will tear up the painful reforms that have restored Italy's credibility under Monti.

The ISPO poll showed 52 percent of Italians are unsure about whom to support or plan to abstain or cast a blank vote.

Nine percent said they would vote for comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which has capitalized on increasing distaste with traditional parties and discontent with economic stagnation.

Three percent indicated they would vote for the opposition Italy of Values party, led by former prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro.

Unemployment, recession and austerity have encouraged voters to shift support to protest groups as traditional parties have become widely seen as symbols of privilege, waste and corruption in the face of repeated financing scandals.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; editing by Andrew Roche)