Early returns give center-left parties led by Pier Luigi Bersani a slim lead in parliamentary elections. Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives appear to headed for close victory in the Senate.
Italy's famous comedian-turned-protest politician, Beppe Grillo, joked about Sadiq Khan being a suicide bomber. Italian lawmakers have criticized his stand-up routine as racist and offensive.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has urged reform of Italy's parliamentary system ahead of a referendum in October. One recent survey already indicates rejection, while local polls in June could also be decisive.
The former Italian premier has angered many after his comments about a woman considering running for mayor of Rome. The comments come as the cash-strapped city finds itself in the middle of a tense political battle.
In regional governor elections in Italy, the ruling Democratic Party appears to have performed below expectations. The results could hamper Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his ambitious reform agenda.
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