June 14 - Italians voted to scrap plans to revive nuclear power plans which have been on hold amid growing public concern over safety following the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Hayley Platt reports.
The headlines said it all - Italians don't want to see the country's nuclear programme revived. An overwhelming majority turned out to vote in referendums on nuclear power, water privatisation and trial immunity for government ministers. The result - no to all. The biggest blow for Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was the power issue. The country's nuclear energy program was stopped in 1987 and he was banking on reviving it to help the country's ailing economy. His centre-right government hoped to end the reliance on imported energy. But following the Fukushima disaster three month's ago the majority of Italians felt the risk was too great. SOUNDBITE: Guseppe Jacoboni, Rome resident, saying (Italian): "I think it was predictable. The sad thing for me was that it took an earthquake in Japan to convince Italians to go and vote using direct democracy." SOUNDBITE: Flavio Rellandini, Rome resident, saying (Italian): 'I am really happy, I mean twenty years ago we said the same thing against nuclear power. I just don''t understand why they spent all this money to reconfirm this" Italy's has one of the highest public deficits in the world and youth unemployment stands at 30 percent. Berlusconi is facing a sex scandal and three fraud trials. And he suffered crushing losses in last month's local elections. Professor James Walston is from the American University of Rome. SOUNDBITE: Professor James Walston, American University of Rome, saying (English): "He has been the centre of Italian politics for the last seventeen years. Any vote that Italians have taken over the last seventeen years has been on some way a vote on Berlusconi and this one is no exception." A confidence vote is being held in parliament on June 22. It will determine whether the 74-year old has enough support to serve until 2013 - the current date for the end of his term in office. Hayley Platt, Reuters.