Bush re-election would be best result for Italy, says ruling right

PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Rome
Nov 03, 2004 07:12 PM IST

Leaders of Italy's ruling centre-right coalition welcomed possibility of Bush's relection in a nail-biting finish to US presidential elections.

Leaders of Italy's ruling centre-right coalition on Wednesday welcomed the possibility of President George W. Bush's reelection in a nail-biting finish to the US presidential elections.

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"If Bush stays in the White House, relations between the United States and the European Union are likely to improve," said Antonio Tajani of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. Berlusconi -- currently visiting another Bush ally Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow -- supported the US-led war in Iraq and sent 3,000 troops to help stabilise the occupied country after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

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Ignazio La Russa of the National Alliance party, the second-biggest party in the coalition, said "the Bush solution is the one that suits us best, particularly because there will be better relations with Italy". He said that victory for the incumbent could herald a rapprochment between Washington and European powerhouses France and Germany, healing the wounds left over from Bush's decision to wage war in Iraq.

Pierluigi Castagnetti of the Daisy party, one of the main opposition parties, said that "at this stage, we can say that Bush has won, but it hasn't been very convincing." Castagnetti said that the Bush campaign "should now take account of the very strong reasons that so many people didn't vote for him".

Rome's left-wing mayor Walter Veltroni said that the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the presidential poll was the result of a "crisis in the (American) electoral system which has repercussions on the institutions". "The country is completely split in two. I believe that we won't know who the president of the United States will be for several days yet."

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