Rome

Over half of Sicilian voters snub regional elections

Possible sign of public disaffection with political class

Over half of Sicilian voters snub regional elections

(see related story) Rome, October 29 - Over half of Sicily's voters snubbed Sunday's elections for a new regional assembly and governor in what is being interpreted as a sign of the Italian public's disaffection with its political class. Just over 47% of the 2,203,885 eligible voters used the ballot box, compared to 66.68% in the 2008 elections in the region. A series of recent corruption scandals affecting parties on various parts of the political spectrum has reinforced skepticism about the world of politics among many Italians. Premier Mario Monti, who has been at the helm of an unelected emergency government of non-political technocrats since the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign as prime minister last year, regularly scores much higher than the leaders of the main parties in approval polls even though he has pushed through a series of unpopular austerity measures. The anti-establishment Five Star movement of comedian Beppe Grillo is expected to benefit from this disaffection and perform well in Sicily. The elections were called in the region after governor Raffaele Lombardo quit in July following an indictment for colluding with the mafia. The vote count started across Sicily at 8:00 local time.

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