Local and regional elections in Italy look to have delivered a series of victories to the centre-left bloc of Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Millions of Italians went to the polls to choose mayors and local councillors in over 1,200 towns and cities nationwide.
It was seen as a chance to either endorse the new government, or back opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi. His centre-right had held control of Sicily’s regional government, while the centre-left has a clear lead in Rome, Naples and Turin. That could serve to strengthen Prodi’s position after the general election last month that saw him win by a wafer-thin margin, and give him the momentum needed to push through economic reforms. An unexpected showdown could be also on the cards in Milan, an industrial city that is normally considered a Berlusconi stronghold. His candidate is said to be neck and neck with her centre-left rival, and may have to go through a run-off vote to find a winner.