Italy heads to polls with centre-right ahead but stalemate likely

By Crispian Balmer ROME, Mar 4 : Italians go to the polls on Sunday in a vote that could bring political gridlock after an election campaign marked by anger over the listless economy, high unemployment and immigration. Pollsters predict that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his far-right allies will emerge as the largest bloc […]

Italy’s centre-right leaders in show of unity ahead of election

By Isla Binnie ROME, March 1 : Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and fellow leaders of his centre-right alliance made their first, and only, joint appearance on Thursday in an effort to project an image of unity ahead of the March 4 election. Opponents say their failure to share a stage earlier in the campaign, […]

Rare snow storm disrupts flights, shuts schools in Rome

By Philip Pullella ROME, Feb 26 : A rare snow storm in Rome on Monday disrupted transport, shut down schools and prompted Italian authorities to call in the army to help clear the streets. Piazza Venezia, Rome’s central square which is usually a cacophony of car horns and a tangle of traffic, was eerily empty, […]

Poker-faced Italian president to hold all the cards after election

By Gavin Jones and Steve Scherer ROME, Feb 21 : In the sound and fury of Italy’s election campaign, the man who will pick the next prime minister never says a word. President Sergio Mattarella, known for his reserved personality and dislike of controversy, hails from the now-defunct Christian Democrat party, which mastered the art […]

“Thousand lira” man: Italy’s Berlusconi baffles as vote nears

By Isla Binnie ROME, Feb 20 : At a recent business conference, Silvio Berlusconi puzzled his audience by boasting that, as prime minister, he had made sure Italians got monthly pensions of 1,000 lire – about the cost of an espresso. Leading a centre-right coalition that tops polls ahead of a national election on March […]

Italy’s election pledges are a debt time bomb, economists warn

By Gavin Jones ROME, Feb 15 : “Every promise is debt – think about it,” screams the message below a huge, ticking “debt clock” that greets passengers at the main train stations in Rome and Milan. The digital clocks, installed by a think tank, update Italy’s 2.3 trillion-euro debt in real time, urging voters to […]