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Italy’s PD Candidate Leads in Rome Amid Lowest Turnout on Record

Democratic Party candidate Ignazio Marino won the most votes in the Rome mayoral race in the broadest test for Italy’s political parties since inconclusive general elections in February, projections indicated.

Marino, an ally of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, won 41.2 percent of vote, about 10 percentage points more than incumbent mayor Gianni Alemanno, who is backed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party, according to projections for state-run television network RAI and based on about 30 percent of the vote.

The mayoral vote was part of local elections across the country with 7 million Italians eligible for the polls in more than 500 cities and towns. The election came a month after Letta formed a coalition government with Berlusconi to end three months of political gridlock caused by the February vote.

About 53 percent of Romans cast ballots, compared with almost 75 percent in 2008. National turnout was 62.4 percent, down from more than 77 percent previously.

The votes marked new setbacks for candidates of the insurgent Five Star Movement, led by comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo. Five Star won more than 25 percent of the vote in February to become the country’s second-biggest political party on the national level. In the city of Rome support for Five Star reached 27.7 percent in February.

The Five Star’s mayoral candidate in the Italian capital came in third with about 11 percent, according to the RAI projections.

If the projections are confirmed and Marino falls short of the 50 percent required for outright victory, he will face Alemanno in a run-off election on June 8-9.

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