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Italians vote in first polls since lockdown

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:25s - Published
Italians vote in first polls since lockdown

Italians vote in first polls since lockdown

Despite Italians generally approving of the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ruling coalition is expected to make losses to the rightist opposition in a raft of regional votes.

David Doyle reports.

Italy's government faced its first test at the ballot box on Sunday (September 20) since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Voting is taking place for a raft of local polls as well as a referendum and though Italians have largely approved of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's handling of the pandemic, opinion polls suggest that's not going to help his coalition as the heads of several regions and mayors in almost 1,000 towns are elected.

The rightist opposition led by Matteo Salvini's League is expected to win at least four of the regions up for grabs and could capture the traditionally leftwing stronghold of Tuscany.

A drubbing for the ruling parties would galvanize the League and its allies but most analysts say it'd be unlikely to trigger a government collapse amid the battle against COVID-19 and as the country prepares a crucial 2021 budget.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party - which make up the ruling coalition - are fielding separate candidates almost everywhere, hurting their chances against a united center-right.

But for 5-Star, which does not run any of the country's 20 regions, the focus is the referendum it has championed - which could see the number of Italy's lawmakers reduced from 945 to 600.

Voting is taking place over two days and exit polls are expected to be released on Monday (September 21) afternoon.




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