Disappointment for Berlusconi as exit polls show lead for centre-left

Exit polls show Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left coalition leading in an Italian election that is testing the country’s resolve to maintain painful economic reforms.

Sky Italia said Mr Bersani’s coalition took 35.5% of the vote for the lower house of parliament, ahead of the centre-right coalition under former premier Silvio Berlusconi with 29%.

The poll by Tecne’ has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5%.

A political movement founded by comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo is projected to take 19% of the vote, while outgoing premier Mario Monti’s centrist coalition has 9.5%.

Polls closed at 2pm Irish time, ending two days of voting.

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