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Berlusconi defies critics in regional poll

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Berlusconi defies critics in regional poll


Italy’s centre-right has taken the hotly-contested region of Lazio in what has turned out to be a better than expected performance by Silvio Berlusconi’s party.

Renata Polverini was able to stand in the regional election despite bureaucratic bungling by her own side which resulted in most of her centre-right colleagues being barred there.

Of the 13 regions up for election, Berlusconi’s centre-right added to their two by taking another four. And although the Left won seven regions, they ended up looking like the losers, having conceded defeat in four others.

For Italy’s prime minister, it means he has defied his critics and appears to have ridden the recent storm of sex scandals and graft.

However, the low turnout, almost seven percentage points down on the 2005 regional elections, points to a general disillusionment by the electorate.

There is one thing for Berlusconi to reflect upon. His Northern League coalition allies also performed well, appearing in some regions to be more of a rival than a partner.

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