Italy

Berlusconi makes election gains in anti-immigration coalition

Reuters

Despite gains by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in regional elections, his victory was overshadowed by the success of his coalition partner, the anti-immigration Northern League, which more than doubled its score from 2005 regionals. Although turnout was at its lowest in 15 years, Berlusconi’s coalition managed to wrestle four regions away from the left.

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Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party and the anti-immigration Northern League won two close contests in Rome’s Lazio region as well as northern Piedmont, according to partial results. The Northern League took almost 13 per cent of the vote across the country.

The coalition also took control of southern Calabria and Campania, while holding on to the strongholds of Lombardy and Veneto in the north of the country.

Turnout in Sunday and Monday’s polls was down eight per cent, at just over 64 per cent – the lowest in 15 years.

The Northern League was pivotal in helping to bring the scandal-hit Italian PM back to power in 2008, campaigning on the basis illegal immigration and crime.

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