Stunning centre-right win in Umbria sparks M5S-PD turmoil

Govt's days are numbered says Salvini

(ANSA) - Perugia, October 28 - Centre-right candidate Donatella Tesei won Sunday's regional election in Umbria in a landslide, claiming 57.55% of the vote, while Vincenzo Bianconi, the candidate backed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), got only 37.48%.
    The M5S and the PD, who were fierce rivals until recently, teamed up in a bid to end a long series of victories in regional elections by the League-led centre right.
    They had formed a pact at the national level for a new government in August after League leader Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on the first government led by Premier Giuseppe Conte, which was based on an alliance between the M5S and the League.
    But the PD-M5S 'experiment' was given the thumbs down by Umbrian voters.
    Salvini's League was again the driving force of the centre-right's triumph, winning 36.9%, compared to 14% in the last round of elections in the central region.
    It was the eighth straight regional election win for the Salvini-led alliance.
    Salvini said Conte's new government will not be around for much longer. "You voted and you chose freedom in the name of 60 million Italians," Salvini said.
    "The days are numbered for Mr Conte, (Foreign Minister and M5S chief Luigi) Di Maio, (centrist Italia Viva leader Matteo) Renzi and (PD head Nicola) Zingaretti, who are momentarily, illegally occupying national government. "This election had national significance too. "Conte continues with his arrogant destruction of Umbria.
    Every day there is a new problem. "Those who sow betrayal, harvest betrayal". Di Maio said that an election pact between his 5-Star Movement and the PD is now 'unfeasible'. He added, however, that he wants Conte's government to continue. "Umbria was an experiment. The experiment didn't work," Di Maio told Sky Tg24.
    "All the theory that said we would be an alternative if we formed an alliance with another party did not work. He added that being in government with allies, whether they be the PD or, as in the first Conte government, with the League, "hurt" the M5S. "We are in an alliance because we don't have 51% (of the seats) in parliament and we are obtaining results in this way," he said. "The government should be improved and renewed".
    PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said that the government partners might have to question the executive's future. Zingaretti said the members of the government coalition must either "feel the same" or "else its existence is useless and it will be better to face the consequences". The PD leader said the ruling majority, which also includes Renzi's IV, cannot exist just "for fear of Salvini, to avoid the citizens' vote or wait for the appointments to government agencies just to cling to posts". "A vision for the future and a reformist profile of renewal of the government must be relaunched in a hurry. "It must be done together. "The alliance makes sense only and exclusively if it lives in this common feeling of the political forces that compose it, otherwise it's useless." The ruling national alliance also includes the small leftwing Free and Equal (LeU) party, which was also part of the unsuccessful Umbria alliance. IV, meanwhile, did not join the M5S-PD-LeU alliance in the central Italian region.
    "The defeat was born of an agreement that was a mistake both in the timeframe and the method," ex-premier Renzi told RAI journalist Bruno Vespa for Vespa's new book. "We said this privately to all those concerned. "It is no coincidence that Italia Viva stayed out of it. "It was a mistake to form an alliance in a rush in Umbria, without an agreed idea".
    Health Minister Roberto Speranza of the LeU group, on the other hand, said he thought a M5S-centre-left alliance was the way forward. The rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party made double figures with 10.4% in Umbria, up from 6.2% last time and almost twice the level of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) on 5.5%.
    The PD got 22.3%, down from 35.8% last time, while the M5S slumped from 14.6% to 7.41%.


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