Italy’s President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi recently appealed to politicians to tone down the shrill language. His sentiments were shared by much of the population. It is not clear if Ciampi will stand for re-election in May. As the head of state and his wife Franca voted in Rome today as they have done for years, others were glad it was all over.
One voter said: “It’s finally finished. This electoral campaign’s been going on for two months, and now we can vote.” Berlusconi’s critics accuse him of economic mismanagement and embarrassing Italy with a constant stream of gaffes.
One voter in the capital seems to agree: “The country’s at rock bottom right now, if the left wins they’ll have a huge task to lift Italy back up. If the right wins power again it’s better to leave the country.”
Another disillusioned Roman said: “I expect things to remain the same and with this I’ve said everything.” The opposition has lodged a formal complaint over text messages that Berlusconi’s party sent to selected Italians’ mobile phones on Saturday, when there was supposed to be a moratorium on campaigning.