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THE WEEK AHEAD

ROME : Appeal to the Bored

March 03, 1992

Campaigning officially opens Sunday for an April 5-6 election that will be the first national test of Italy's Byzantine-style politics since the fall of communism.

Christian Democrats led by Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti expect to keep the political control they have held uninterruptedly since World War II. But a big question is what will happen to Italy's Communist Party, once the West's largest. Renamed and splintered, it is trying to fend off overtures to its followers by rival Socialists and by minor parties.

Meanwhile, right-wing parties focusing on local issues hope to take advantage of voter disgust with the business-as-usual political establishment in Rome. A rare opinion poll at this early stage indicates that 63.1% of Italians have no interest in the campaign propaganda that is about to deluge them.

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