Italy's Salvini triumphant in left-wing stronghold of Umbria

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Matteo Salvini gestures as he speaks during a rally of Italy's far-right League party earlier this monthImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Salvini's anti-immigrant party left the national government in August

A right-wing alliance led by Matteo Salvini's populist anti-immigrant party has wrested control of the Italian region of Umbria from the left for the first time in half a century.

The ruling coalition candidate for governor was comfortably brushed aside in an embarrassing loss.

It is one of several key regional elections Mr Salvini hopes will help return him to power.

He left the national government in August.

The right-wing alliance's candidate in Umbria, Donatella Tesei, won with more than 57% of the vote - comfortably ahead of the 37% received by the centre-left coalition government's candidate.

Mr Salvini's League party made common cause in the election with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the far-right Brothers of Italy.

The governing coalition parties - the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) - also joined forces.

Media caption,

Giuseppe Conte launched a bitter attack on Matteo Salvini (L) in August as Mr Salvini to his right and Mr Di Maio to his left

"The results we have seen in Umbria, we are seeing all over the country. This is not a government that represents the Italian people," Mr Salvini told Radio 24.

"I don't think it can go on for much longer," he added, repeating his demand for early parliamentary elections.

The result appears to show Mr Salvini bouncing back from what has been seen as a tactical blunder.

In August, he left the coalition with M5S in the hope of winning a general election, but his former coalition partner formed a new administration with its former foes PD.