Ber­sani heads to gen­eral elec­tion

Demo­cratic Party can­di­date to face cen­ter-right foes in 2013 vot­ing.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT -

ROME — Pier Luigi Ber­sani, the head of Italy’s main cen­ter-left Demo­cratic Party, won a runoff pri­mary Sun­day to be­come the main cen­ter­left can­di­date for Italy’s 2013 gen­eral elec­tions — a vote that polls in­di­cate could well be won by the Demo­cratic Party given the ut­ter dis­ar­ray of the op­pos­ing cen­ter-right.

Pre­lim­i­nary re­sults gave Ber­sani 60.8 per­cent of the vote com­pared with Florence Mayor Mat­teo Renzi’s 39.1 per­cent, with twothirds of the votes counted.

Even be­fore the re­sults were re­leased, Renzi con­ceded the vic­tory to Ber­sani on Twit­ter: “It was the right thing to try, it was beau­ti­ful to do it to­gether.”

The pri­mary had been closely watched since the Demo­cratic Party has a sig­nif­i­cant lead in the polls over former Pre­mier Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni’s cen­ter­right Peo­ple of Free­dom party, which has been in chaos af­ter the me­dia mogul’s 2011 down­fall, a se­ries of cor­rup­tion scan­dals within party ranks and Ber­lus­coni’s in­de­ci­sion about whether to run for a fourth term.

The 2013 gen­eral elec­tion — ex­pected in March or April — will de­cide if Italy con­tin­ues on the same path to fi­nan­cial health charted by Pre­mier Mario Monti, ap­pointed last year to save Italy from a Greek-style debt cri­sis.

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