World Bulletin / News Desk
Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi was Sunday poised to win the leadership of Italy's ruling Democratic Party (PD) in a primary election, propelling him back to the forefront of the national political scene.
A centrepiece of his political platform, the reform had aimed to streamline Italy's parliamentary system.
In the aftermath of the December vote defeat and facing a rebellion from the left wing of his centre-left party, Renzi in February stepped down as party leader with the aim of regaining legitimacy in a future vote.
On Sunday he was up against two candidates considered further to the left: Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and Michele Emiliano, who heads the southern Puglia region.
An internal vote conducted by the party earlier this month suggested a clear Renzi victory after he scored 66.7 percent, with 25.3 percent for Orlando and eight percent for Emiliano.
When he first took over the leadership in December 2013, Renzi won the backing of close on 68 percent of 2.8 million voters.
Similar figures would underpin the winner's legitimacy --but Emiliano warned the election will be a flop if less people vote this time, while Orlando said that less than two million cast ballots would signal a failure.
Renzi set the bar much lower -- at one million.
Voting booths, mainly stands on the streets, opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) and were to close at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).
The vote was open to all Italians over 16 years old, EU citizens residing in Italy and non-EU foreigners with valid residency permits -- on condition of paying a donation of at least two euros.
Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2017, 15:16