Cities such as Genoa and L’Aquila, formerly strongholds of the left, were claimed by the right in a pattern repeated across the country

Italy’s centre-right parties trounced their centre-left rivals in mayoral elections, official results have showed – putting pressure on the ruling Democratic party (PD) ahead of a national vote due in less than a year. An alliance of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the anti-immigrant Northern League won 55% of the votes in Genoa, the northern port city that was a leftwing stronghold but which the right will now govern for the first time in more than 50 years.

PD leader Matteo Renzi, 42, who has been seeking to make a comeback since stepping down as prime minister in December, was the clear loser in Sunday’s vote, though polls show that his party is still one of Italy’s most popular nationally. “It could have gone better,” Renzi said in an early-morning Facebook post.

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