The Berlusconi Administration even sanctioned a decree-law suspending the building of new nuclear power stations for two years.
As the Italian Constitution establishes, to make the referendum valid half plus one of the voters should cast their ballots, that is to say nearly 25 million and a half of people.
Berlusconi and his supporters are calling for abstention or indifference, as since 1995 no referendum of this type has attained the required amount of voters.
Voting is scheduled Sunday and Monday in the 61,600 electoral districts and vote counting will begin immediately after the polling closes.
The vote was promoted by the “Italia de los Valores” party backed by environmentalist associations and the Democratic Party, the main force in the opposition.
The current administration plans to build four new nuclear plants despite a majority rejected the use of that resource in 1987 in the wake of the accident at the Ukrainian nuke station of Chernobyl in April 1986.
Berlusconi and most of his ministers, among them the foreign affairs Minister Franco Frattini announced that they will not vote.
Vote was preceded by mass demonstrations nearly all over the country under the slogan (*”Italy Stops Nuclear, Vote Yes”*).