Italian outgoing prime minister Mario Monti shakes hands with staff at the polling station in Milan, Italy, Feb. 24, 2013. Italians began voting for a new government Sunday, the outcome of which has had global markets and the country's European partners anxious about for weeks. (Xinhua/Angela Quattrone)
ROME, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Italians began voting for a new government Sunday, the outcome of which has had global markets and the country's European partners anxious about for weeks.
More than 50 million Italians are eligible to vote, but the turnout is expected to be lower than the 80 percent in the April 2008 vote, largely due to public indifference or anger at austerity measures.
Voting is taking place over two days, with polling stations closing 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) Monday.
Surveys conducted two weeks before the election show center-left Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani should win a majority in the lower house, followed by the ex-premier and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo and the outgoing prime minister Mario Monti.
The election is expected to produce a coalition government led by Bersani and Monti's centrist party, an outcome favored by global markets and the euro zone.
Observers have warned failure to form a new government could deepen Italy's economic recession and even trigger a resurgence of the eurozone debt crisis.
ROME, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Italy's 2013 general election to be held on Feb. 24-25 is drawing attention from all over Europe, even the world, as observers expect a radical change in the debt-ridden and economically sluggish country.
For the last two decades, the political struggle has been between arch-rivals the center-left coalition lead by the Democratic Party and the center-right alliance. The former's prime minister candidate is Pierluigi Bersani while the center-rights are led by Silvio Berlusconi, who has ruled the country for almost 10 of the last 20 years.Full story
ROME, Feb 23 (Xinhua) -- Italy's 2013 general election on Sunday and Monday are supposed to make a big change for the country, but its nature is not clear yet. Though every alliance has set certain economic goals, it could be very hard to achieve them for the Europe's third largest economy in a deep crisis with a big debt and little growth.Full story