The group has around 32 percent of the vote so far on the night, way ahead of the Democratic Party. Interior minister Matteo Salvini leads League, which came third in the 2018 general election. Following his victory, Mr Salvini said in Milan: “A new Europe is born.

“I am proud that the League is participating in this new European renaissance.”

He said previously: “As far as I’m concerned, if the League wins nothing changes in Italy, everything will change in Europe, starting from tomorrow.”

The head of the party’s Senate Riccardo Molinari added: “The League has probably become the top party in Italy.”

The exit poll suggests that League will claim between 27 and 31 percent of the vote.

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The group’s coalition partner, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) was beaten by the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) which came second with 21-25 percent, exit polls showed after voting ended.

Mr Salvini had hoped to gain significant ground in the EU.

He stepped up intensive campaigns to attempt to claim a majority in Italy.

The surprising result comes on a night of high drama.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s right-wing group National Rally secured victory against Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche.

Germany also saw leader Angela Merkle lose six seats, but continue to claim a majority.

And in the UK, the Brexit Party completed a historic win as the region’s split over leaving the EU deepened.

The party’s leader Nigel Farage was elected to represent the South East.

Following his victory, Mr Farage tweeted: “Never before in British politics has a party just 6 weeks old won a national election.

“If Britain does not leave the EU on October 31st, these results will be repeated at a general election.

“History has been made. This is just the beginning.”

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