Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's ruling centre-left party has promised  to push on with its reform agenda after anti-establishment and euro-sceptic parties posted strong results in local elections.
              
Centre-left candidates backed by Mr Renzi's Democratic Party(PD) won five out of seven regions.

But a fall in the overall vote and the loss of the key region of Liguria dented the unchallenged supremacy Mr Renzi, 40, has held over Italian politics since becoming prime minister in February 2014.
              
PD officials said the results, which still leave the party in control of 17 of Italy's 20 regional governments, showed clear support for Mr Renzi's agenda.

But they could not hide their dismay at losing Liguria, in part due to a breakaway leftist candidate who split the left wing vote.
       
The anti-immigrant Northern League, which wants to scrap the euro, benefited from public concern over refugee arrivals in southern Italy to score a decisive win in the northeastern Veneto region.

It also expanded outside of its main heartlands.
              
Together with a strong showing for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the result confirmed the appeal of anti-system parties in the eurozone's third-largest economy after years of recession and Brussels-inspired austerity.

For the PD, the result is a sharp fall from a record 41% gained in last year's European elections after he rose to power in an internal party coup.
              
The regional elections have no direct impact on national politics but Mr Renzi needed a convincing result to maintain momentum for labour, education and constitutional reforms which have met fierce resistance from trade unions, the political opposition and the left wing of the PD.            
              
A low turnout of just 54% also demonstrated a mood of disillusion among many voters after a campaign dominated by corruption scandals and internal party squabbling.