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Local elections held in Italy on May 26 and 27 saw the centre left take the lead in all of the 16 major cities at stake, including Rome where Ignazio Marino has overtaken incumbent Gianni Alemanno (PDL) by more than 12 per cent.

Support for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) was down by more than half when compared to its 24 per cent of in recent general elections, and the movement will not feature anywhere in the second round, which is to be held on June 9 and 10.

“In the February general elections, Grillo’s ‘tsunami’ swept away old parties, but this time around, the monster wave was abstentionism,” which came close to a record 40 per cent, notes La Repubblica.