The campaigns for the referendum on Italy's three-year-old divorce law entered their final stages on Friday (10 May).
SV Rome street scene. (2 shots)
SV AND CU Posters for and against divorce laws. (2 shots)
GV Monument with banner around base.
GV Banners hanging across street.
CU Pamphlets littering road.
GV Crowd for divorce gathered in square.
CU Malagodi speaking.
CU AND GV People listening.
GV People against divorce gathered in square.
GV AND MV Speaker
SV AND GV People listening. (2 shots)
Initials VS 3.04 VS.3.15
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The campaigns for the referendum on Italy's three-year-old divorce law entered their final stages on Friday (10 May).
In Rome, the pro-divorce campaign culminated in a massive rally in the Piazza Del Popolo, with speeches from leaders of five political parties.
Among the speakers were former Italian President, Social Democrat Giuseppe Saragat, veteran Socialist leader Pietro Nenni, Republican party leader Ugo la Malfa, Liberal Party leader Giovanni Malagodi and former Resistance leader Ferruccio Parri.
Meanwhile the Christian Democrats -- the country's largest political party, and the only party opposed to italy's conservative divorce laws -- gained support from the Pope, who took a stand on the issue by supporting the anti-divorce views of the Bishops.
An electorate of about 37.5 million go to the polls on Sunday and Monday (12 and 13 May) to vote either "yes" or "no" on the abrogation of the divorce laws.
Considered among the least liberal in the West, Italy's limited divorce laws grant a legal and to marriage by mutual consent after five year's separation or in special cases such as madness, incest, or the departure of one of the partners on a life jail term.
The campaign has driven a wedge between the Christian Democrats and their coalition partners, the socialists and Social Democrats. Even if the referendum does not bring the present Government down -- as many commentators have predicted -- it is expected to leave lasting divisions between the parties.