Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi’s center-left coalition blocked a Communist bid to become Italy’s No. 1 party in local and regional elections today, and a neo-fascist group scored a surprise victory.
The balloting Sunday and today was billed as a showdown between the Communist Party--the largest in the West--and Craxi’s five-party ruling coalition of Socialists, Christian Democrats, Liberals, Social Democrats and Republicans.
More than 44 million voters chose councils for 15 regions, 86 provinces and 6,562 cities.
Communists Running 2nd
Computer projections on regional council races indicated a first-place finish for the centrist Christian Democrats, the dominant force in Italian politics since World War II and the major party in the ruling coalition. Projections gave the Christian Democrats about 34% of the vote and showed the Communists running second with about 29%.
Final returns will not be available before Wednesday.
The first official returns showed a surprise victory for the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement in Bolzano, near the Austrian border, one of only two areas where voting ended Sunday night.