With only a few days left before the Italian general elections, opinion polls throughout the country report growing support for the Communists and other left-wing parties.
SV, MV Mitterrand applauded by people. (2 shots)
SV Crowd with banners and party flags.
MCU Mitterrand speaking. (2 shots)
SV Party supporters listening.
MV Mitterrand speaking.
SV PAN FROM party banner to Berlinguer speaking to crowd. (2 shots)
MCU Berlinguer speaking
SV Supporters with flags
BV Berlinguer speaking to huge crowd.
MCU Train pulls in to Frankfurt station.
CU Station sign and Italian workers boarding train. (3 shots)
CU Italian workers and families pushing luggage trollies.
SV PAN Families waiting for train.
MV Destination board.
MV Italians saying goodbye to relatives as train pulls out.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With only a few days left before the Italian general elections, opinion polls throughout the country report growing support for the Communists and other left-wing parties.
SYNOPSIS: In Florence, Italy on Wednesday night, French Socialist party leader Francois Mitterrand added his wight to appeals to the electorate to support the Italian Socialist party in next weekend's elections. Three thousand people heard Monsieur Mitterrand's speech in Florence's famous Piazza Della Signoria.
Monieur Mitterrand said the Italian people must now have confidence in their own Socialist Party. Mitterrand, whose French socialist party has an electoral alliance with Communists, said he did not intend to persuade Italians to follow his example.
In the Naples, another huge crowd turned out to hear communist leader Enrico Berlinguer warn that if the Christian Democrats increase their vote in Sunday's elections, Italy faces the threat of an authoritarian regime.
He said this was especially so if the Christian Democrats were joined by defectors from the far right. Signor Berlinguer has continually declined to predict Sunday's result, but he says the next Government must include Communists.
Elsewhere in Europe, ex-patriot Italians are preparing for the long trek to the ballot box. Here in Frankfurt, West Germany, hundreds have been heading south. Italian law allows for free transport of returning voters once they have reached the Italian border. The West German railways have also agreed to help out by providing free rides to the frontiers.
Recent opinion polls shows that the combined Italian left-wing parties have moved closer to an overall majority. However, the socialists have said that they could not be tempted with the premiership to join a centre-left alliance if a deadlock emerges. Despite the polls, the Christian Democrats are still outwardly confident of victory. Party leader, Amintore Fanfani is pushing the line that the people have had 30 years of liberty with the Christian Democrats, which would be endangered by the Communists.