A heavy blow for Matteo Salvini. The League (far right) was defeated by the left Sunday, January 27 in Emilia-Romagna, according to partial results of a regional election worth national test for the Italian sovereignist leader, who counted on this symbolic ballot to regain power .
The outgoing president of the region Stefano Bonaccini (Democratic Party, center left) was clearly ahead, with a score around 50% of the votes, his opponent Lucia Borgonzoni (League), given at around 43%, according to projections made from counting of the ballot papers carried out Monday at 2 a.m. (1 a.m. GMT).
This election was marked by a very high turnout of 67.67%, against 37% in previous regional meetings in 2014.
Representatives of the ruling majority formed by the Democratic Party (PD, left) and the 5 Star Movement (M5S, anti-establishment) may have hammered that this election would have no impact on the government, the head of the League had announced that if his side won, he would demand the resignation of the executive and early legislative elections on Monday.
"After 70 years, there was a real match [left / right, note] in Emilia-Romagna. In the past, the match was over before it started," said Matteo Salvini to the press, without wanting to explicitly recognize his defeat, but recalling that the left was used to winning the votes in this region.
"Something will change in Rome tomorrow," he predicted, citing possible repercussions for the government. Matteo Salvini tried to console himself by rejoicing in the already certain victory - given a gap of more than 20 points with his first opponent - of the opposition candidate Jole Santelli (center-right), during regional elections organized in Calabria.
A "crossing of the desert"?
Given his commitment to the fore in this poll, the defeat of the league in Emilia-Romagna could, according to some observers, mark for the boss of the Italian far right "the beginning of a long crossing of the desert in the opposition".
On the strength of national polls showing the League at the head of the intentions of voting around 30% and first party of Italy, the sovereignist hoped indeed that a quick summons of Italians to the polls would be synonymous for him to return to the controls of the country.
A thriving region in the north-central part of the peninsula, Emilia-Romagna has long been an impregnable bastion of the left, whose values still prevail in its cities, even if the right has made serious inroads in its villages and countryside.
League candidate Lucia Borgonzoni, 43, was completely overshadowed by Matteo Salvini, who organized daily meetings and inundated social media with photos of him enjoying Parma ham or Parmesan, two specialties internationally known.
In addition to the large crowd at the polls, the left has undoubtedly benefited from the anti-Salvinian dynamic created by the Sardines, a movement of young people born in the region two months ago and quickly became a national symbol of the protest against the extreme right.
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