Italy's centre left stops slide in polls

Lead over Berlusconi's coalition increases to 5.5%

Italy's centre left stops slide in polls

Rome, February 5 - Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left coalition stopped its slide in the opinion polls on Tuesday when it increased its lead over ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance ahead of the February 24-25 vote in Italy. The centre left, led by Bersani's Democratic Party (PD), saw its lead over the centre right rise to 5.5% in the latest SWG poll, 0.5% higher than in the previous survey on Friday. The centre left had 33.6% of the projected vote, compared to 32.8% on Friday. Support for Berlusconi's alliance also increased, but by less, gaining 0.3% to reach 28.1%. The centre left's once mighty advantage in the polls has been whittled down in recent weeks after Berlusconi embarked on a media blitz. The centre-left coalition also saw its standing in the polls fall last week following a derivatives scandal at the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, which has historic ties to the PD. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (MS5) of comedian Beppe Grillo was steady in third place at 18% in Tuesday's poll. The centrist coalition headed by outgoing Premier Mario Monti dropped 0.9% with 13.3% of projected votes. Civil Revolution, a new party led by Palermo anti-Mafia magistrate Antonio Ingroia, fell 0.1% to 4.9%, still above the 4% threshold needed in order to qualify for seats. photo: Pier Luigi Bersani.

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