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ITALY: While the election is exactly two months away on 26 Jan, the contest for
the central region of Emilia-Romagna is intensifying.
- The region, and notably its capital Bologna, have long been a stronghold for
left-wing Italian politics, with every regional president having hailed from the
centre-left Democratic Party (PD), or one of its socialist forerunners.
- However, opinion polling puts the centre-left PD-led coalition neck-and-neck
with the centre-right coalition led by former Deputy PM Matteo Salvini's League.
- In response to his constant campaigning, anti-League activists have launched a
number of ad hoc rallies where as many people as possible cram into public
squares to show the numbers of individuals opposed to Salvini. Given the nature
of these protests, it has become known as the 'sardines' movement.
- Even without the protests winning Emilia-Romagna is a big challenge for the
League. They have support though with allies, the nationalist Brothers of Italy,
hitting their highest-ever level of opinion polling support today at 10.1%. 
- Opinion polls in the region are likely to be closely monitored given the
outsize impact of the election on the national political landscape.