Italian PM, Silvio Berlusconi, has backed continued investment and expansion in nuclear energy, but voters failed to back his centre right People of Freedom party at the ballot box.

The country held a referendum on the future of the energy source over the weekend with the results coming in today (July 14).

Almost 57% of Italians went to vote and the vast majority of them, almost 95%, backed a nuclear free future for the county.

Despite criticism of a difficult to under polling system, the vote was to cancel legislation so if a voter wanted to vote no to nuclear they had to vote yes.

And accusations of Mr Berlusconi using his media empire to undermine the campaign the anti-nuclear vote was impressive.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “This is a great result considering there has been an almost total media blackout.

“The high turnout in the referendum demonstrates a willingness of citizens to participate in decisions about our future that cannot be ignored.”

In a short statement Mr Berlusconi said: “Even those who believe that the referendum is not the most appropriate tool to address complex issues, it is clear that the will of the Italians is clear on all the themes of the consultation.”

Luke Walsh

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