The first round of local elections (both municipal and regional) held on 15 and 16 May was marked by the poor performance of candidates from the ruling majority, who were outmatched by their rivals from the centre-left opposition. In Milan — Berlusconi’s home town and the theatre of his rise to power in both business and politics — the head of government’s direct participation in the elections did not prevent outgoing mayor Letizia Moratti being overtaken by seven percentage points by her rival Giuliano Pisapia. The second round of the elections will be held on 29 and 30 May. For Berlusconi, "who has demanded a referendum on himself and his government," it is "a political slap in the face," remarksCorriere della Sera. Not only does he risk losing control of the country’s economic capital, il Cavaliere also has to contend with the threat to his alliance with the Northern League, which blames the election debacle on his strategies and governmental errors. In its 16 May edition, the Milanese daily writes "[O]nce considered a demiurge by his supporters and the party faithful, the leader now risks becoming a scapegoat."