On the island of Sicily voters have been going to the polls to elect a new regional government. The ballot is being viewed as a litmus test for Italy’s general election next year.
The focus will fall on the performance of comic Beppe Grillo’s populist Five-Star party seen as a threat to the country’s centre-right and centre-left.
Ten candidates are on the ballot sheet in a region struggling to combat organised crime.
“The political class is certainly distanced from the country and continues to steal and not give up its privileges,” said one voter while another added,
“Like all Italians and Sicilians I don’t have much hope that things will get better.”
The Five-Star movement has made tackling waste in the regional budget one of its aims along with cleaning up the political system. Beppe Grillo swam to the island to draw attention to his party’s campaign.
The vote could also indicate the health of Silvio Berlusconi’s former PDL party.
The election has been brought forward because the previous governor resigned earlier this year after he was accused of collaborating with the mafia.