Renzi Party wins regional vote

Renzi Party wins regional vote
Renzi Party wins regional vote

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's center-left Democratic Party (PD) won regional elections in Calabria and Emilia Romagna on Sunday but an exceptionally low turnout suggested growing disillusion among many voters.

After years of economic crisis that has created hardship among a growing number of Italians, the lackluster turnout was a clear warning sign for Renzi as he faces pressure to push through potentially unpopular financial belt-tightening, Reuters reported.

Renzi, who scored a record victory in European elections in May, claimed another win but acknowledged that large numbers of voters had stayed away. "The turnout was bad, the results were good. A clear 2-0," he said in a tweet on Monday.

"Slap in the face from abstentions," read the headline in the Corriere della Sera, Italy's biggest daily newspaper.

In the central region of Emilia Romagna, traditionally a stronghold of the left, PD candidate Stefano Bonaccini won 49 percent with the support of the leftist Left Ecology Freedom party.

However, turnout was just 40 percent, down from 65 percent at the previous election, with many voters apparently put off following the resignation in July of center-left governor Vasco Errani in a fraud scandal.