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World Briefing / Italy

Vote may be test of Berlusconi

June 07, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Italians voted in European Parliament elections that have become a virtual barometer of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ability to weather a scandal over his attention to young women.

The three-time conservative prime minister has bounced back in the past from corruption investigations or international gaffes.

Despite a deep recession and high unemployment aggravated by the global economic crisis, the scandal has become the focus of balloting for 72 deputies from Italy for the European Union's legislature. Italians were also voting for local governments in dozens of towns and provinces.

The scandal revolves around whether the 72-year-old Berlusconi had an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old model and used a government plane to ferry friends to his vacation villa.

Other nations voting in European elections Saturday were Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia and Latvia.

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