Feb.17 - The centre-left Democratic Party looks set to win Italy's upcoming parliamentary vote, but it's facing surprisingly stiff competition from a familiar face. Andrew Raven reports.
Could this be the next man to lead Italy? With just a week to go before the country holds a crucial parliamentary vote, Pier Luigi Bersani appears to be in the driver's seat. Opinion polls show his center-left Democratic Party with a solid lead in the lower house of parliament. But the son of an auto mechanic has some competition from a familiar face - former three-time PM Silvio Berlusconi. The controversial billionaire was forced to resigne just 15 months ago amid the country's debt crisis and a series of scandals. But Berlusconi's party has eaten into the Democrat's once massive lead. Analysts are expecting the Democrats to form an alliance with outoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, who last shepherded Italy through the worst of its a debt crisis. His support in Italy's Senate is seen as crucial for Bersani, who must control both houses of parliament to govern. The election will run February 24 and 25.