Emilia-Romagna's incumbent president and member of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Stefano Bonaccini, declared his victory shortly after exit poll data was released, saying that his party hoped that Italy as a whole would resemble Emilia-Romagna a little more in the future. According to exit-poll data, Forza Italia candidate Jole Santelli secured a strong victory in Calabria.
"Jole Santelli showed excellent results. Under her leadership, Calabria will become a symbol of the liberation of southern Italy", Berlusconi told his supporters over the phone, adding that the Five Star Movement (M5S) will now have to contend with a rather modest role.
Berlusconi added that "something is about to change in Rome", as the Five Star Movement, which used to get most of its votes in Calabria and Emilia-Romagna, the regions where it originated, is now demonstrating weak results.
On Sunday, elections were held in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region, which had been reliably left-leaning, as well as in the southwestern region of Calabria.
On Wednesday, Di Maio stepped down as the head of M5S, the biggest party in the ruling coalition, ahead of the crucial regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria.
The current Italian government was formed in September 2019 following a collapse of the previous coalition government between the M5S and the right-wing Lega party, which led to an alliance between the Five Star Movement and PD.