Brazen-faced fraud seems to be the order of the day. An electoral returning officer at Anzio, challenged by the scrutineer from the Five Star Movement was found to have in her bag blank ballots. When required to explain she first stated they were 'deteriorated' and she had removed them so that they would not be used then, on being pressed further by the scrutineers of other parties, had a fit of hysterics and tore the ballots to pieces in an attempt to hide her actions. At this point she was arrested. Another returning officer has been appointed.
The woman is a well known cadre of the Bersani faction of the 'Democratic' Party.
The Ministry of the Interior has announced that based on the returns from 8,092 comune out of 8,092 the turn out is 46.80% at 7 pm., compared with a turn out of 49.21% in 2008 (when the Democratic Party led by the former communist Walter Veltroni lost to Silvio Berlusconi's People of Liberty Party. It is noteworthy that only when the Democratic Party has been led by the Christian Democrat Romano Prodi has it won an election; the only former communist to hold the office of prime minister as leader of the Democratic Party was Massimo d'Alema when he took over from Romano Prodi after - on dit - engineering his downfall by arranging the withdrawal of support by a communist splinter group; like Gordon Brown in the United Kingdom, d'Alema held power with someone else's majority.)
Watching the news this evening there is a very low tone expressed by the usual right-on Bersani suspects, which suggests that unpublished (and forbidden) exit polls are not looking like those in 1997 for Blair.