Italy’s 5-Star rallies voters as rivals fret

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Franco Origlia | Getty Images

Italy’s 5-Star Movement told roaring supporters it was close to winning a looming election at the end of campaigning on Friday as its main rivals worried about the anti-establishment party’s popularity.

Pollsters predict Sunday’s parliamentary election will result in a hung parliament in which former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s alliance of centre-right groups will be the largest bloc and 5-Star the biggest single party.

The ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) has failed to capitalise on a tentative economic recovery following the worst recession since World War Two, and the coalition it heads could end up in third place.

“We are a step away from victory,” 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said at a rally in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, where a crowd waved flags and chanted “honesty”, the group’s buzzword.

A blackout on opinion polls was imposed two weeks ago, but parties have carried out their own surveys.

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