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FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attends her end-of-year press conference in Rome, Italy, January 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Meloni suffers Sardinian blow, Russia jails another critic, Japan’s baby bust continues, Big Oil pumps Big Money

0.4: The rugged island of Sardinia has dealt rightwing Italian PM Giorgia Meloni the first serious electoral blow she’s suffered since taking office in 2022. In local presidential elections (Sardinia has special autonomy from Rome, and its own president) a candidate from the left-leaning anti-establishment 5-Star Movement beat the Meloni-backed candidate by a mere 0.4 points. Alessandra Todde will now become not only Sardinia’s first female leader, but the first 5-Star member to head any of Italy’s 20 regions.

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