Polls show gap narrowing between Berlusconi coalition and center-left forces ahead of vote

The last political polls to be published before Italy's national elections suggest that ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi is gaining ground on the center-left candidate.

Several polls published Friday in major Italian dailies show Berlusconi's coalition would receive about 28 percent of the vote, up about two points from a week earlier, while the center-left coalition dropped a couple of points in the same period to about 35 percent.

Another change: comic/political activist Beppe Grillo is gaining, and in some polls overcoming Mario Monti's centrist coalition. Grillo's anti-establishment campaign has resonated with voters in the wake of the Monte dei Paschi banking scandal.

Italian election rules ban publication of polls of voter sentiment during the last 15 days of the campaign. The election will be held Feb. 24-25.