Rome (AP) - The head of the right-wing Lega, Matteo Salvini, is threatened with defeats in the regional election in Emilia-Romagna in Italy.
The Socialists' center left candidate Stefano Bonaccini, according to a forecast by broadcaster Rai, received between 47 and 51 percent of the vote. The Lega candidate Lucia Borgonzoni came to 44 to 48 percent.
If the result is confirmed, that would be a big disappointment for opposition leader Salvini. The election in the industrialized region is particularly important for the government in Rome of five-star movement and social democrats, since Emilia-Romagna has always been in the left hand. A loss to the Lega would be a major blow that would further destabilize the already unpopular government. Salvini had hoped for a victory in the election to support his claim to power at the national level.
At the same time, elections were held in Calabria, where, according to forecasts, the center-right candidate of the Forza Italia party, Jole Santelli, clearly prevailed. She received between 49 and 53 percent of the vote.
The five-star movement was predicted to take a heavy toll in both elections. In Emilia-Romagna, the protest movement received only between 2 and 5 percent of the vote. Given the impending disaster, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio had resigned from the post of party leader last week.
The coalition of stars and PD has ruled since September 2019. The two dissimilar parties had merged after the then Interior Minister Salvini had given up the previous alliance with the stars. Both parties are struggling with internal disputes and poor poll ratings and have faced severe slumps in several regional elections.