Luca Zaia, a member of Matteo Salvini’s League, is on course to win at least 74 per cent in the Veneto regional presidential election — the Italian equivalent of a U.S. state governor — exit polls indicate.
The exit polls, published by Italian broadcaster RAI on Monday, suggested that the wildly popular incumbent would break history in Italian regional politics with at least 74 per cent of the total vote.
Later in the evening with 34 per cent of the vote counted, the lead for Zaia had increased even further to 76.2 per cent, with the leftist candidate Arturo Lorenzoni trailing in second place with just 16.8 per cent.
The Veneto election is just one of the seven regional elections that have taken place over two days from Sunday to Monday as well as a referendum on shrinking the number of seats in the Italian parliament.
The RAI exit polls have suggested that the Salvini-backed centre-right candidate for regional president in Liguria, Giovanni Toti, will defeat the leftist coalition candidate and win the region for the centre-right.
The region of Marche is also expected to see a win for Salvini’s centre-right regional presidential candidate.
According to a report from newspaper Il Giornale, the Liguria election is the worst result for the centre-left coalition as both the left-wing Democrats and the Five Star Movement (M5S) scored fewer votes than they did in 2015.
Edoardo Rixi, an MP for the League, commented on the Liguria race saying the national coalition for the Democrats and the Five-Star Movement has proven to be good for the centre-right.
“The good government of the centre-right seems to be confirmed. The left has failed to be competitive,” he said.
Tuscany, which has been a left-wing stronghold for many years, has been a tight race but polls show the left-wing coalition candidate Eugenio Giani ahead of Salvini’s League candidate Susanna Ceccardi at 48.1 per cent to 40.9 per cent.
Apulia, which showed very close polling numbers in the lead up to the election, has seen the leftist candidate Michele Emiliano, the incumbent, pull away from centre-right candidate Raffaele Fitto with just over 30 per cent of the vote counted.
Fitto, a former president of Apulia himself, had been ahead of the current leftist regional president in polling published earlier this month fueling speculation of a major upset for Salvini’s coalition.
In the southern region of Campania, the incumbent leftist president is widely expected to keep his seat, and with 29 per cent of the vote counted, Vincenzo De Luca had 68.6 per cent of the vote.
The constitutional referendum to lower the number of parliamentarians in the Italian chamber of deputies and the senate passed with an overwhelming vote of just under 70 per cent. The yes vote victory will see the lower chamber decreased from 630 seats to 400 and the senate from 315 to 200.
Senator Salvini commented on the results of the regional elections, saying: “As always and more than ever, this time I say THANKS to the millions of Italians who have trusted us. If the data are confirmed, from tomorrow, the League and the centre-right will be at the helm of 15 regions out of 20!”