Monday, June 1, 2015

Italian premier's party heading to victory in 5 of 7 regions

I'm not going to get into Italian Politics as its very complex and I am not yet skilled enough even in the language to even being to understand it. I will confine my observation of politics to my native land, the USA. But I thought the shift in politics here to being anti-EU, anti-Brussels interesting... Also thought the flower of life logo in the Lega Nord poster behind Matteo Salvini interesting... not sure of the history of that.  -AK

Italian premier's party heading to victory in 5 of 7 regions

COLLEEN BARRY | June 1, 2015 06:41 AM EST

Premier Matteo Renzi
MILAN (AP) — Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party claimed victory Monday in five of seven regions that voted for new leaders, but the real winner was the anti-Europe and once-regional Northern League that showed strong gains nationally.
The vote Sunday was marred by low turnout, with just half of eligible voters turning out on what was for many a long holiday weekend.

Matteo Salvini
The Northern League, led by Matteo Salvini, won handily in the northeastern region Veneto, its traditional turf. It also backed a candidate from Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in Liguria, securing his victory in the northwestern region that has long been a Democratic Party stronghold.

Salvini's showing put him in position to claim leadership of the center-right from a weakened Berlusconi, said Wolfango Piccoli, a political analyst at Teneo Intelligence. Berlusconi's political fortunes have been weakened by a tax fraud conviction.

"The result shows the emergence of a new leader on the center-right: Salvini," Piccoli said. "There are basically two Matteos in Italian politics. Matteo Renzi and Matteo Salvini."

The results indicated Salvini had successfully transformed the party into a nationwide force from its original incarnation as a secessionist group with a northern base. Salvini campaigned heavily on an anti-migrant platform and against the euro, making Brussels and not Rome the enemy.

Comic Beppe Grillo's 5-Star Movement also showed gains on a regional level, and despite not winning control of any region remains the second political force in Italy after the Democratic Party.

Despite heading to five victories, Renzi failed to show the same strength as during last year's European Parliament elections. His Democratic Party lost in Liguria largely due to a split in the party, and the victory in central Umbria was tighter than expected, Piccoli said. The Democratic party also won Renzi's home region of Tuscany and the southern region of Apulia.

Renzi did not immediately comment on the results, flying off to visit Italian troops in Afghanistan.

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