A crucial day for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – his centre-right coalition risks losing its northern power base of Milan in local election run-offs.
In the first round, the Italian leader suffered a drubbing when the centre-left held onto Turin and Bologna and forced run-offs in Naples along with his hometown.
The man poised to cause the big upset is Giuliano Pisapia. His first round tally of 48 per cent knocked Berlusconi’s candidate into second place. A series of sex scandals and corruption trials appear to be taking their toll on the media magnate’s popularity.
Nearly six million Italians are eligible to vote in mayoral contests in 90 towns and six provinces. When the results come in later today the main focus will be on whether Berlusconi’s two-decade dominance of politics is nearing its end.