Italy versus Berlusconi: the boss loses

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Voters in Italy soundly rejected a three-part referendum in voting Sunday and Monday 12-13 June, handing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi a defeat that he acknowledged Sunday evening. The referendum asked Italians if they wanted to reject legislation covering three issues:

  • a return to a nuclear energy programme
  • privatization of water resources
  • government officialls’ exemption from the obligation to appear in court if called to trial because of government duties.

Voter turnout was the largest in more than 15 years, 57 percent, despite Berlusconi’s appeal to citizens to boycott the opposition-sponsored referendum. The proposals were rejected by more than 90 percent.

Berlusconi himself currently faces three trials for corruption and one where he is charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute.

Links to other sites: CS Monitor, Deutsche Welle, Irish Times