Europe

Italians vote in local races that test Renzi's party

Virginia Raggi,  Five-Star movement's candidate for Rome's Mayor, waves before casting her ballot at a polling station in Rome, Sunday, June 5, 2016. Polling stations in Italy opened Sunday for local elections in several major cities, with all eyes on the capital, which has been without a mayor for over seven months following a major mafia and expenses scandal. Some 26 capital provinces are heading to the urns to elect mayors and councilors, among them Bologna, Cagliari, Milano, Napoli, Turin and Trieste. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

Virginia Raggi, Five-Star movement's candidate for Rome's Mayor, waves before casting her ballot at a polling station in Rome, Sunday, June 5, 2016. Polling stations in Italy opened Sunday for local elections in several major cities, with all eyes on the capital, which has been without a mayor for over seven months following a major mafia and expenses scandal. Some 26 capital provinces are heading to the urns to elect mayors and councilors, among them Bologna, Cagliari, Milano, Napoli, Turin and Trieste. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

An anti-establishment movement is the favorite as voters head to the polls to pick a new mayor in Rome, among a handful of city hall contests in Italy that will test the prime minister's governing Democratic Party.

A broad corruption scandal and deteriorating public services have soured many voters on traditional parties in Rome, driving support to the grassroots, populist 5-Star movement.

Local elections will also be held Sunday in Milan, Naples, Bologna and elsewhere.

Run-offs are expected on June 19 in most contests, unless candidates manage to win more than 50-percent of the vote.

While Premier Matteo Renzi could emerge weaker from the races, analysts say the real test will be a referendum on constitutional changes launched by his government and heading to a vote in the fall.