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Italy to hold general elections on March 4

Italy to hold general elections on March 4

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella has dissolved Parliament, to pave the way for a general election on 4 March, a BBC News report said on Friday. According to him, the country is in better condition than last parliamentary elections in 2013. Enrico Letta led the government after the then-party leader, Pierluigi Bersani, was unable to form a government.

Gentiloni's government was hastily appointed 12 months ago after Renzi was badly defeated in a referendum on constitutional reforms he had sponsored, and resigned from the premiership.

With the upcoming vote also shaping up to be tight, Gentiloni warned against fear-mongering.

"I think it is in the interests of the country to have an election campaign that limits as much as possible the spreading of fears and illusions, these are the risks we have before us", he said.

The party was followed by the governing center-left Democratic Party, with about 23 percent. Center-right Forza Italia (FI) party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi polled third at 16.1 percent, and right-wing, anti-immigration Northern League reached some 13.7 percent.

While Berlusconi can not run for office due to a tax-fraud conviction, Salvini has set himself up as his party's premier candidate, if the newly rebranded League comes out of the election on top.

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"The Five Star Movement - a pro-Russian, conspiracy-prone, insurgent agglomeration that prides itself on using nonprofessional politicians - enters the campaign as Italy's most popular political force".

With opinion polls suggesting no one will win a parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he would remain in office and ensure continuity until a new administration is in place.

One party doing well is the Five Star Movement, a populist party which in the European Parliament sits with the eurosceptic Ukip, although it often behaves more constructively on topics such as the environment.

Its economy is on course this year for its firmest growth since 2010, but it remains among the most sluggish performers in Europe.

On that front, Gentiloni's government opened a humanitarian corridor to allow a very limited number of migrants in Libya to come to Italy by plane, avoiding the deadly Mediterranean Sea passage, for the first time.

In March, it will be Renzi who will vie to become prime minister again on behalf of the Democratic Party.

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