PM Silvio Berlusconi and coalition partner Umberto Bossi have been strengthened by Italy's regional elections, comments Corriere della Sera. Despite a record low abstention rate of 35.9%, the Northern League is the big winner, polling 13.7 per cent nationally, more than twice its 2005 result. Dominant in Veneto and Piedmont, the League now vies with Berlusconi’s People of Liberty (PdL) as the main party in Northern Italy. "The showdown between Berlusconian and Nordist Italy starts tomorrow", writes La Repubblica.

All in all, Berlusconi has reasons to cheerful, having wrested control of 4 out of 11 regions from the opposition, silencing critics who believe his star is on the wane. La Repubblica, which leads the campaign against the premier, has bitterly conceded defeat: "Tarnished by scandals, obsessed with lawsuits, tired by two years of non-government, somehow Silvio Berlusconi has managed to win again."