Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi cast his vote in Milan on Sunday in the local elections, presumably for his own party. But he will be hoping a good proportion of the 13 million eligible voters will opt for his centre-right coalition as well.
The poll is being seen as a test of just how much damage has been done by his alleged involvement in a sex scandal, three corruption trials and a stagnating economy.
The vote, which continues tomorrow, follows opinion polls putting his popularity at 30 per cent, the lowest since he swept to power for a third term in 2008.
The contest will be won in the major cities – Milan. Turin, Bologna and Naples.
If Berlusconi does triumph it will not be the first time that the 74-year-old-premier has fought off controversy and defied predictions that his power is on the wane.
The question is – has the patience of Italy’s voters finally run out?