November 5, 2017 / 9:19 PM / 19 days ago

Centre-right leads narrowly in Sicily regional vote - exit polls

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition has a narrow lead over the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in Sicilian regional elections held on Sunday, according to exit polls, with the centre-left a distant third.

Fratelli D'Italia party leader Giorgia Meloni (R) takes a selfie with a mobile phone with Forza Italia party's Nello Musumeci in Catania, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

The election to pick a new regional governor on the Mediterranean island is widely seen as a test of trends across Italy ahead of parliamentary elections due by next May.

RAI state television said Nello Musumeci, backed by centre-right parties, including former Prime Minister Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!), would win between 35 percent and 39 percent of the vote.

The 5-Star’s Giancarlo Cancelleri was seen taking between 33-37 percent.

Another exit poll for private broadcaster La 7 put Musumeci on 36-40 percent and Cancelleri on 34-38 percent.

The centre-left’s candidate Fabrizio Micari, backed by the ruling Democratic Party, was seen almost 20 points behind the frontrunner in both polls, followed by Claudio Fava, the candidate of a cluster of left-wing parties.

The vote count will not begin until Monday at 8 a.m (0700 GMT) with the full result expected later that day.

Reporting by Gavin Jones, Editing by Crispian Balmer

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