Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks to have avoided a mid-term bruising after his centre right faired better than expected in Italy’s regional elections.
The poll had been billed by opponents as a referendum on his government.
But it was a good night, particularly for Berlusconi’s anti immigration and pro-federalist coalition allies the northern League.
Northern League Party Leader Umberto Bossi said:
‘‘People want change, federalism, a new and renewed country. It is necessary to have the people on our side, and this vote is important because it shows that the people want federalism.’‘
Of the 13 regions up for grabs the centre-right added to their two by wresting four regions from the centre-left, who managed to hold on to seven regions but were banished from the wealthy industrial north.
The wins will be a welcome tonic for Berlusconi, in the face of recent personal and political troubles.
But, the record low turnout also hinted at general apathy among the electorate.