By DOUGLAS HYDE THE number of people pre pared to vote for Communist candidates in Italy has gone up rather than down. This appears to be the lesson of the first results of the first round of the municipal elections there.
The elections have been largely fought on international political issues rather than on questions of local administration, although the popularity of individual local party members is obviously a bigger factor in municipal elections than in Parliamentary ones.
The number of votes cast for the Christian Democrats has gone down. This was expected, both because they stood to lose most by their electoral arrangement with other anti-Communist parties and because their party has been the one largely responsible for the government of the country for the past three years and so is most hit by the normal swing of the pendulum.
What was not expected was that the Communists and fellowtravellers who had even been prepared by the Communist leader Toggliatti for considerable reverses, would hold their own.
Because of a new electoral law they have lost their hold on a number of municipalities and so their grip on the country has been
weakened. But, despite large-scale defections from the party, large numbers of electors are still not prepared to cast their votes elsewhere.