(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
ROME - Italy's center-right parties were the big winners in mayoral elections on Sunday, partial results showed, in a vote likely to put pressure on the center-left government ahead of national elections due in less than a year.
In the most closely watched contest, the northern port city of Genoa - a traditional left-wing stronghold - seemed certain to pass to the center-right for the first time in more than 50 years.
The candidate backed by the anti-immigrant Northern League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party will get around 54 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for the candidate backed by the ruling Democratic Party (PD), according to final projections based on the vote count.
The elections are a setback for PD leader and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who took a back seat in campaigning after seeing his party roiled by internal divisions this year.
"The wind is blowing for the center-right from the north to the center to the south, this is an extraordinary victory," said Renato Brunetta, the lower house leader of Forza Italia.