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

By Angela Giuffrida in Rome

President of Lazio, Nicola Zingaretti, is tipped to win, but needs 50% of the vote

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).

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