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Italy in turmoil, says Napolitano

President warns of little focus on foreign issues ahead of vote

13 December, 14:52
Italy in turmoil, says Napolitano (ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - Italy is a country in turmoil with little focus on foreign issues, President Giorgio Napolitano said Friday.

While preparations are underway for next spring's European parliamentary elections, Italians have been too distracted by internal struggles to concentrate on issues outside the country, said Napolitano.

That will make it difficult for Italians to make informed decisions during that vote, he added.

"Unfortunately we are approaching a (European) campaign in which it will be difficult to speak (of European issues)," said the president.

"(We are) in a phase of upheaval on the Italian political scene (where there is) almost nothing said of foreign policy".

The European parliamentary elections will be held in late May 2014 in all members states of the European Union.

Napolitano recently urged Italians to combat the country's negative social and political climate as Italy emerges from its longest recession in over two decades.

"The country is in a climate, a mood, that isn't exactly one of confidence," Napolitano said during a conference at the Senate.

Italy's political climate has been soured by rancour over the ejection of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi from parliament last month after a tax-fraud conviction was upheld against him and by his centre-right Forza Italia party pulling its support from Premier Enrico Letta's coalition government.

Controversy has also ensued following the Constitutional Court's ruling that Italy's current electoral law breaches the Constitution.

This has led Forza Italia and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) to say the current parliament, voted in with that law, is illegitimate, along with the government it produced.