Berlusconi Ally and Northern League Head Set for Lombardy Win

Northern League head Roberto Maroni was set to win local elections in Lombardy, as Italy’s wealthiest region remains a stronghold of the coalition led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Maroni, an Interior Minister in the last administration led by Berlusconi, is projected to win 42.4 percent of votes, Piepoli projections for RAI show. Democratic Party head Pier Luigi Bersani’s candidate for governor, Umberto Ambrosoli, would get 37.2 percent, according to RAI.

Italian 10-year yields climbed the most in 14 months after the country’s national elections this week produced a hung parliament. Bersani, the pre-election favorite, won the most seats in the lower house, while resurgent three-time ex-premier Berlusconi won a blocking majority in the upper house. Maroni’s governor race helped Berlusconi’s bloc win the key region of Lombardy in the Senate, where seats are doled out regionally.

Ambrosoli, a criminal lawyer who portrayed himself as an outsider, failed to put an end to a 20-year cycle of regional governments led by Berlusconi’s bloc. The vote followed a probe targeting the previous governor and Berlusconi’s ally Roberto Formigoni, who is under investigation on allegations of corruption, which he denies. Formigoni successfully ran as candidate for the Rome-based parliament in this week’s vote.

“Eighteen years of a good center-right administration” paid off, Formigoni said on Twitter.

With 10 million people, Lombardy is the most populous of Italy’s 20 regions and its economy is equivalent to the size of Austria’s, generating a fifth of Italy’s $2.2 trillion gross domestic product.

Lazio Vote

In separate elections held in Lazio, home to the country’s capital, Bersani’s candidate to governor and former head of Rome’s provincial administration Nicola Zingaretti was set to win 38.5 percent of the vote, against 29.5 percent for Berlusconi’s candidate, according to RAI projections by Piepoli. The local vote followed last year’s resignation of the region’s Governor Renata Polverini amid a party financing scandal. Polverini wasn’t targeted in the investigation.

Both Polverini and Formigoni were elected as heads of their regions in 2010 with the support of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty Party. Polverini also ran as candidate for the lower house with Berlusconi’s party. In the region of Molise, Bersani’s candidate is leading with 42 percent against 24.7 percent for Berlusconi’s bloc, projections show.