With Italy’s general election looking set for a close finish next weekend the two main players are gearing up for a last chance to grab undecided voters.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the centre-left opposition leader, Romano Prodi, will take part in a final televised debate of the campaign tonight.Tax is likely to be the dominant issue and the government has been going on the offensive over the opposition’s plans.
One Forza Italia leader said the balance was tipping in Berlusconi’s favour. “Italians can see that the left wants to increase fiscal pressure,” he said.
Prodi did admit the centre-has failed to communicate clearly its tax plans.But the oppostion says the government’s claims about their proposals, particularly on inheritance tax, are false.
A communist leader and Prodi ally said people with up to three houses had nothing to fear and that only wealthy property owners would be affected.
The most recent polls showed Prodi up to five points ahead. But analysts believe Berlusconi may have gained ground in the past few days over the tax issue.
The centre-left leader is regarded as having won the previous TV encounter and both candidates are said to have been brushing up on their skills for tonight’s debate.