Berlusconi faces referendum test
Monday 13 June 2011
Italians began voting in four referendums yesterday that could strike a new blow against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is still stinging from heavy local election losses last month.
The centre-left opposition has been leading a spirited campaign to get voters out to cast their ballots on the questions, which concern the privatisation of water utilities, nuclear energy, and whether government ministers can be exempt from attending trials against them.
A central issue will be whether enough voters turn out to ensure the necessary quorum of 50 per cent plus one vote. But if they repeal existing laws by voting yes, the result will have repercussions for Mr Berlusconi's fractious centre-right coalition.
"It's clear that a wave of 'yes' votes will result in a shock, perhaps the final one, for his premiership and even for his leadership of his party," Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy's leading business daily, said on Saturday.
Voting ends this afternoon. A quorum would be a setback to Mr Berlusconi because he has said he will not vote and some of his ministers have urged voters to boycott. For some, the votes will be a way to demonstrate their disappointment with Mr Berlusconi himself, who is facing a sex scandal and three fraud trials.
If the quorum was reached, it would mean that "more than half of Italians are pointing a finger against him", Il Sole said.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...