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Italian Communists Rally Ahead Of Elections

The leaders of Italy’s Communist party led a large march through Rome on Saturday in an attempt to boost the party’s shrinking profile before elections in April.

Organizers said more than 200,000 people joined the march through some of Rome’s main downtown streets. Special trains and buses brought in participants from around the country.

“A force of the true left is absolutely necessary in Italy,” the party’s leader, Fausto Bertinotti, told the crowd at the beginning of the march.

Italy’s Communist Party was once one of the biggest in the West and played a crucial role in government negotiations until the 1980s. But corruption scandals and the end of the Cold War led to profound changes in Italian politics.

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