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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Postcard from Rome (2)
Milan 8 May South Tyrol 7 May Rome 11 May Rome 12 May Rome 14 May Messina 9 May Palermo 10 May

12 May

Julian Keane reports from Rome whose mayor - Francesco Rutelli - stepped down to become a leading candidate in Sunday's parliamentary election.

So, who to pick? The donkey, the bear or the butterfly?

Or perhaps the sunflower, the carnation or the daisy?

When Italian voters make their way to their local polling station and prepare to mark a cross against their ballot paper, most will be faced by a bewildering array of political parties to choose from - each represented by a different symbol, or logo.

Animals and plants are a particular favourite.

So many parties

Politicians know that it is the undecided who will win you an election - and Italy is no exception to that rule.

The problem is just the number of parties putting up candidates.

There are already 24 in the outgoing lower house and dozens more are knocking at the parliament's door.

Those with a keen interest in past history might be tempted by the Holy Roman Empire of Liberal Catholics.

If the future is what you┐re all about, the Internet Party is counting on your vote.

Football-made Italians haven┐t been forgotten.

In the capital you can show club loyalty by supporting the candidate from either Forza Roma or Avanti Lazio.

There┐s something for everyone. From the United Small Businessmen to the Write Off Everything and Everybody From Your Tax Return party.

Enough!

There are the Ecologist Greens, the Federalist Greens and simply the Green Greens .

Not surprising that Italy is also the country whereyou'llfind a party called Basta, "Enough"!

Five million Italians say they've still to make up their minds.

Five million voters scratching their heads as they look for a way out of Italy┐s political maze.

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02 Feb 01 | Europe
Timeline: Italy
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