The Latest: Italian PM tweets good news about saving jobs

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The Latest: Italian PM tweets good news about saving jobs
FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni arrives for a meeting of European Socialists prior to an EU summit in Brussels. Italy's March 4 election might have no clear winner. A Roman from a noble family, Gentiloni, 63, cut his political teeth at a classics high school considered the choice of Rome’s bourgeois class, assuming the role of as a leader of left-wing students during Italy’s hot years of far-right and far-left youth dissent. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, FILE)

ROME (AP) — The Latest on Italy’s national election on Sunday (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

As Italian political leaders wound up their election campaigning, Premier Paolo Gentiloni had some good news to tweet.

Gentiloni isn’t his Democratic Party’s official candidate for premier in Sunday’s national election, but he’s considered popular and could be a compromise choice if a grand coalition is needed to break post-vote gridlock.

Gentiloni tweeted Friday that a deal was struck to save 500 jobs with Embraco and Whirlpool at a factory near Turin at least through 2018.

Ex-Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democrats have plunged in popularity in opinion polls. But the same polls tab Gentiloni as Italy’s most admired leader. Renzi, the Democrats’s official candidate for premier, resigned in 2016 after losing a referendum on his reforms.

Analysts say Sunday’s election will likely yield a hung parliament, making a coalition government necessary.

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9 a.m.

Italy’s election campaign reads much like a police blotter, chronicling a country whose politics lately have been increasingly nasty, divisive and even violent.

A young man knifed while affixing posters for a far-left party. A politician for a pro-fascism party beaten up on the street. A candidate for premier spat upon and shoved while stumping for her far-right party. Protests and counter-protests, in the streets from north to south.

The national vote this Sunday to determine who’ll govern Italy appears unlikely to bring much relief. Prospects are high for weeks, even months, of more political tensions after the vote, with backroom party maneuvering quite possibly producing a crisis-prone, short-lived government with limited chances of making headway on Italy’s economic and social issues.

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Frances D’Emilio is on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio