Italians were feverishly awaiting the results of run-off mayoral elections in several cities on Sunday, with all eyes on the scandal-plagued capital, Rome, where the eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) is favoured to win with candidate Virginia Raggi.
A victory for Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer, would bring Rome its first female mayor, but would also be a blow to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his party.
These elections are considered an important test for Renzi, who has repeatedly stressed that they are only representative of local issues and not the national government as a whole.
Voter turnout by 7 pm (1700 GMT) Sunday was around 37 per cent across the country, according to the Interior Ministry, lower than the figure of 44 per cent reached by the same time in the first round on June 5. Polls close at 11 pm.
Turnout was low at 62.1 per cent in the first round, compared with 67.4 per cent in the previous elections, the ministry said. Raggi had led with a little more than 35 per cent of votes, while rival Roberto Giachetti of Renzi's Democrats (PD) was just short of 25 per cent.
Nearly 9 million people were eligible to vote on Sunday. Mayoral run-off polls are taking place in five more cities - Milan, Turin, Naples, Bologna and Trieste - with other municipalities also voting.
Sunday, June 19, 2016 - 09:50
Sunday, June 5, 2016 - 20:12
Monday, June 6, 2016 - 16:37