Italy heads to the polls to elect new leader for Democratic party


Voters took to the polls on Sunday to elect a new leader to represent Italy’s centre-left Democratic party, as the embattled group strives to re-establish itself as a credible force against the country’s rightwing populist government.

The vote is seen as a litmus test for the strength of the party and comes a year after its administration was ousted in an embarrassing defeat in general elections that led eventually to the formation of a coalition government between the far-right League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement(M5S).

One million people are projected to vote on Sunday. There has been a steady flow of people into voting booths in central Rome, while turnout is reported to be strong elsewhere across Italy. Nicola Zingaretti, the president of the Lazio region, is widely tipped to win, but he will need to eclipse 50% of the vote in order to secure the leadership. Polls on Friday put Zingaretti ahead with 47.38%, followed by Maurizio Martina, the party’s former caretaker leader, with 38%, and Roberto Giachetti with 11%.(theguardian)…[+]