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Slow start in Italy's European poll

Slow start in Italy's European poll
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The second day of Italy’s two-day European ballot and candidates will be hoping for a better turnout. Official figures show that fewer than 17 percent of eligible voters went to the polling stations yesterday compared to 20 percent in 2004. The figures bode ill for participation rates reaching anywhere near the total 73 percent turnout five years ago.

The election is being seen as an indicator of the popularity of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Despite the economy and immigration being the big issues during the campaign, it is scandal over his private life which is dominating the news. His main rival is the centre-left Democratic party lead by Dario Franceschini. It was was only founded in 2007 and has so far struggled to make a big impact despite Italy’s economic problems. 72 MEP seats are being contested.