Italy's governing party bruised as centre-right and populists lead Sicily vote
Early results in a regional election in Sicily have showed the centre-right widening its advantage over the populist Five-Star movement.
Less than half of the Italian island's 4.6 million eligible voters turned out on Sunday for the last major electoral test before a national election due next year.
With 37% of the vote counted early on Monday, centre-right candidate Nello Musumeci was leading with 38.9% of the vote ahead of Five-Star candidate Giancarlo Cancelleri who had 35.6% support.
The Democratic Party, which leads the central Rome government, was lagging badly at 18.4%.
A victory by Mr Musumeci would restore the island's traditional political order after five years of a centre-left administration, while a victory by the Five-Star movement would hand the populist party control of its first region in Italy.
The Sicily vote has turned into a proxy of sorts for national politics.
All the major national party leaders, including former premier Silvio Berlusconi for the centre-right, Five-Star Movement founder Beppe Grillo and Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi had converged on the island in recent weeks to stump for their candidates.
Mr Musumeci, a former Catania provincial president, has been backed by Mr Berlusconi's Forza Italia, the anti-EU Northern League and the right-wing Fratelli d'Italia party.