Italian regionals headed for low turnout

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Italian regionals headed for low turnout

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It is the second day of voting in Italy’s regional elections and after day one the poll looks as if it is headed for a record low turnout.

Official data for Sunday showed that in nine of the regions, just over 47% of voters cast their ballots , that is down nine percentage points on the 2005 regional elections.

Voting ends today at 3pm local time.

Pollsters see the election as a test of the strength of the coalition backing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, plus an indication of his popularity.

Of the 13 regions which are participating this time round, the opposition controls 11 of them.

A low turnout is not good news for Berlusconi, graft scandals and bureaucratic bungling by his People of Freedom Party appear to be keeping voters away.

His party’s candidates were barred from standing in Lazio – one of four swing states – after an official missed the deadline to submit their names.

And criticism has been acute after the media mogul was accused of using his position to block TV shows unfavourable towards his government.