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Italian elections test Berlusconi

Italian elections test Berlusconi
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Italians go to the polls on Sunday and Monday to vote in local elections. It’s seen as test of how badly the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been damaged by a sex scandal, three trials and a stagnating economy.

In the city, still in the grip of a chronic garbage crisis, Berlusconi’s centre-right could take power from a divided centre-left. But it could be the less idealistic issue of the rubbish that decides the outcome here.

“We have to have a protest vote,” said one man. “Actually Naples should not vote at all to protest. It is indecent to have the same garbage problem for 20 years.”

The northern city of Milan is home-turf for Berlusconi. His empire is based here as well as his villa.

But it is also here that he is facing trial on charges relating to prostitution and abuse of office.

He denies any wrong-doing, accusing prosecutors of political motivation.

But if the mud sticks it could well impact on the vote, and there are people who say that if he loses Milan, the government will fall.