Rome

Berlusconi tells supporters to 'go to the polls'

Low voter turnout expected in February

Berlusconi tells supporters to 'go to the polls'

Rome, January 8 - Silvio Berlusconi appealed to a disenfranchised Italian electorate Tuesday to turn out to the polls next month in his bid to return to office for the fourth time. "You have to go and vote," he said in an interview with broadcaster Canale 5, which is part of his media empire. Berlusconi, who was forced out of office at the end of 2011 amid a peak in the euro crisis, said he was counting on the same 40% of voters who supported his center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party in 2008. "We even need a little more this time," he said. Although it has recovered recently, the PdL is polling at under 20%, compared to over 30 for the main centre-left Democratic Party (PD). Following a raft of party scandals last year and growing electoral dissatisfaction with Italy's political class, voter turnout is expected to be low in general elections February 24-25. Hoping to boost his party's chances, Berlusconi announced Monday an alliance with the regionalist Northern League party. Part of that deal, he said, might entail him passing up the role of premier and becoming economy minister if they win.

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