2010 Piedmont elections annulled over falsified ballots
'Cota's govt no longer exists'10 January, 14:20
The court's ruling comes after Cota confidant Michele Giovine was handed a binding sentence of two years and eight months for false ballots. Cota's win enabled Berlusconi's government to claim a clear victory in the 2010 March 28-29 regional elections, taking four regions from the centre left.
It was an important boost amid late-breaking opinion polls indicating the centre left might do much better and deal a blow to Berlusconi's coalition between his now defunct People of Freedom (PdL) party and the regionalist Northern League.
The centre right held on to Veneto and Lombardy, the only regions where it had governed going into the vote, and picked up Piedmont in the north, Lazio in central Italy and Campania and Calabria in the south.
The centre left retained Liguria and Emilia-Romagna in the north, the central regions of Tuscany, Marche and Umbria, and the southern regions of Puglia and Basilicata.
Bresso, who today is a regional councilor, hailed the ruling as a victory for justice. "These elections were fixed. Now Cota's government no longer exists," she said. Meanwhile the Northern League said the ruling was itself tainted with political bias. "Judges and the left, even when they lose, are somehow able to win," said League leader Matteo Salvini. (photo: Roberto Cota and Mercedes Bresso)