Italians have been voting in regional elections. Among them was Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, putting on a brave face as he cast his ballot.
These elections are seen as a test of his popularity and support. And due to his personal scandals and legal battles, as well as party members’ bungling, analysts say his centre-right candidates could lag behind rivals in the race.
More than 41 million voters are eligible to vote for governors in 13 of the country’s 20 regions. They have until three PM local time on Monday, to do so.
At present, the centre-left opposition holds eleven regions. It looks set to retain five of them.
Its candidate in the key province of Lazio, which contains Rome, is Emma Bonino. She has a stronger chance than usual. Berlusconi’s PDL party was dropped from the ballot there because officials didn’t register in time.
But analysts say Lazio is one of four swing states, which this year are too close to call.
Surveys taken before the two-week election blackout indicate the centre-right could possibly win Lombardy and Veneto in the north, and two others in the south.