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Updated: June 21, 2011 18:24 IST

Voter turnout strong in Italian referendums

AP
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. File photo: AP.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. File photo: AP.

Passage of the referendums would be a blow to Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who has pushed to reintroduce nuclear energy and privatize tap water. A final referendum would revoke legislation that provides Mr. Berlusconi with a partial legal shield from prosecution.

Referendums that would block the return of nuclear power to Italy and revoke a law mandating the privatization of the water supply appear headed for the 51 percent turnout necessary to validate the vote.

The turnout on Sunday night when the polls closed was 41 percent. Voting was continuing on Monday.

Passage of the referendums would be a blow to Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who has pushed to reintroduce nuclear energy and privatize tap water. A final referendum would revoke legislation that provides Mr. Berlusconi with a partial legal shield from prosecution.

Analysts expected the Japan nuclear meltdown, following the March 11 quake and tsunami, to motivate voters. Italy’s nuclear power plants were shut down by a 1987 referendum after the Chernobyl disaster.

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