Reuters 11:41, May 28, 2015
Italy's Renzi faces election test as scandals overshadow vote

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi goes into elections this weekend hoping nascent signs of economic recovery after years of recession will outweigh a corruption scandal that has dogged one of the main candidates of his centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

Sunday's ballots in seven regions and more than 1,000 municipalities, which follow a bruising series of parliamentary battles over Renzi's reform agenda, will be his biggest test since a triumph in last year's European elections.

Emboldened by the success of Spain's anti-austerity Podemos party in their local elections last weekend, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is hoping voter disillusion with the mainstream parties will give it a boost.

PD leftwingers are also in rebellious mood over labor reforms and changes to electoral rules which they say weaken the independence of parliament.

But facing a divided center-right, where a new generation is fighting to seize the reins from the 78-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, Renzi's candidates are expected to win in most of the regions being contested. They currently hold power in five of the seven.

The center-right is confident of keeping the northeastern region of Veneto, one of the heartlands of the anti-immigrant, eurosceptic Northern League, whose 41-year-old leader Matteo Salvini has emerged as the strongest leader on the right.

12:58, August 14, 2015
In the past 24 hours, on August 13, one Ukrainian serviceman was killed and six others were wounded in the Anti-Terrorist Operation area. »
12:35, August 14, 2015
Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said Russia was plotting provocations for Ukraine's Independence Day celebrated on August 24. »
11:55, August 14, 2015
The Military Prosecutor's Office has lists featuring 8,000 security and military staff that had defected to the enemy, chief military prosecutor of Ukraine Anatolii Matios said. »
11:23, August 14, 2015
NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov claims that in case of Russian troops' advance in the ATO area, Ukraine will introduce martial law. »
10:40, August 14, 2015
Shelling of ATO forces' positions in Luhansk region left two servicemen wounded, the Luhansk region military and civil administration reported. »

"Today Ukraine has an opportunity to obtain complete independence and become an EU member. Never more shall we have such a unique chance," David Zhvaniya said on Shuster Live TV show.

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