Italians go to the polls this weekend for regional elections, seen as a test of the support for the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, two years short of the end of his term.
Around 40-million people will vote for governors in 13 out of 20 regions in the country.
Recent polls, published before a two week blackout, showed the government’s approval rating had fallen.
This came after Berlusconi’s party was left off the ballot sheet in Lazio, where Rome lies, because it failed to register in time.
Allegations the Prime Minister tried to shut down TV talk shows criticising his government have not helped.
The opposition controls 11 of the regions up for grabs. According to the polls, it is expected to hold on to at least five, while the centre-right is tipped to win four.
Analysts say the four swing regions including Lazio are the key to victory.