Exit polls in Italy’s local elections are indicating that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party will remain the largest in a vote widely seen as a test of the leader’s popularity a year and a half in office.
His his centre left Democrats hope to hold on to five of Italy’s seven regions and so far they are leading in four with the vote remaining tight with the centre-right in Liguria and Campania.
The anti immigrant Northern League looks to have held the Veneto region. The turn out was down ten points on the 2010 election at around 52 %.
Analysts say the 40-year-old premier needs a convincing result to maintain momentum for labour, education and constitutional reforms which have met fierce resistance from trade unions.
However Renzi has insisted the regional vote has no direct impact on his national government.