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    Berlusconi Reemerges as Man Who Can Lead Italian Gov't – Pollster Cofounder

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    The Italian right-wing coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi is winning public support ahead of the elections scheduled for the beginning of March. According to polls, Forza Italia and two anti-immigration parties are likely to outperform others. Sputnik discussed the upcoming election with Lorenzo Pregliasco, co-founder of the pollster You Trend.

    Sputnik: What is your opinion on the results of the poll? How predictable is the outcome of the elections?

    Lorenzo Pregliasco: We do have some challenges, especially in the voting system, which is new, so Italians could be voting with a new electoral law, which has part of the seats assigned with the first-past-the-post constituencies, so this adds uncertainty in terms of the final outcome, because a lot of first-past-the-post seats fought, won or lost by maybe one point or two points, so this makes it quite difficult to predict the post-election balance of power in the parliament.

    Sputnik: Why is the public favoring Silvio Berlusconi? What makes his platform more appealing to Italian citizens?

    Lorenzo Pregliasco: He successfully went, lets say, under water for one year or two after the conviction, and then he reemerged in a way as a new politician, proposing himself as the moderate and wise leader, who can lead the Italian government, so in a way he has become a stabilizing factor for Italian politics, because he is seen as the most moderate segment in the center-right coalition and on top of that he's quite an effective campaigner, and he is campaigning on a couple of very simple and very understandable issues for voters, that is taxes, he's proposing a flat tax, and immigration and security, so these are the topics he's pushing.

    READ MORE: Berlusconi Points Finger at '600,000 Migrants Having No Right to Stay'

    Sputnik: What is the reason behind the increased popularity of right-wing parties in Italy, how strong is the support for them and how strong is the overall discontent in the country about the existing situation, is it just a phase or is the political consciousness of the Italians changing? Now we know that you've had very challenging times with regard to the migration situation for the past three years, you've also overseen a long period of austerity, I think the unemployment figures for young Italians, are probably one of the highest in the European community along with Spain, you've had a lot of challenges over the last 10 years going through and trying to traverse through this economically challenging period, is there any other particular issues with regard to why there's so much discontent, or have I covered them all off there?

    Lorenzo Pregliasco: Well, you've mentioned immigration with is certainly a factor, especially when it comes to the center-right, it is perceived as tougher on immigration, on illegal immigration and this is a plus for a part of the public opinion in Italy, and then you did mention the economic challenges of the country, which are certainly a factor as well, I would also add that we had the center-left, so the PD (Democratic Party) in power for 5 years now, so voters in Italy tend to vote for the opposition which can explain to some extent the growth of the center-right.

    Sputnik: Nearly 10 million Italians supposedly still haven't made up their minds regarding who they're going to vote for, with this in mind, how much could the situation change in the coming weeks?

    Lorenzo Pregliasco: We estimate between 6-10 million people are still undecided, which includes a part of voters, who'll probably end up not going to the polls, so probably half of that figure is actual undecided voters. We did a poll, which was published on Bloomberg a few days ago, showing that most of the undecided voters in Italy are female, they are disillusioned by Renzi, the former PD Prime Minister and they tend to live in southern Italy. And especially the south will be the battle ground between the center-right and the five-star movement in constituencies, so that's where much of the game of the election will be fought, and that's where many of the undecided voters reside.

    Sputnik: If the right-wing Eurosceptic parties prevail then, how will this change the political, economic and social situation in Italy, how would relations between Rome and the European Union then develop? Do you think there's going to be an unwinding of the relationship or can you not foresee that happening?

    Lorenzo Pregliasco: That's possible, provided that the League becomes the ruling party in the center-right coalition, which doesn't appear to be the case as of now. Forza Italia, Mr. Berlusconi's party, is more moderate and I would say it's also milder, when it comes to the relationship with EU. If Forza Italia is the biggest party in the coalition, I don't see big changes in the relationship with the EU, on the other hand if the League will be the last party and if the League will lead the government with Mr. Salvini, that could pose some issues, especially when it comes to the policy on immigration.

    The views and opinions expressed by Lorenzo Pregliasco do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    parliamentary elections, Forza Italia party, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy
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