Without commenting on the content of these referendums, I must say that I am impressed by how the Italian people successfully opposed Berlusconi's formidable political/propaganda machine.
Italians turned out in large numbers for four referendums and voted overwhelmingly this week to overturn key legislation passed by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi had urged voters to boycott referendums on nuclear power, privatization of water utilities and trial immunity for the prime minister and other government officials. The vote was a humiliating defeat for the scandal-prone prime minister but does not automatically lead to his government's collapse.
...Italy's three government-run TV networks and the three owned by Berlusconi himself more or less ignored the referendum campaign. The prime minister and several government officials said openly they would not vote, and urged Italians to go to the beach instead.
Cheers erupted when it was announced that turnout topped 57 percent, surpassing the quorum needed to validate the vote — the first time since 1995 the referendum quorum had been reached.
Each referendum was approved by around 95 percent of voters.