Early indications suggest the head of Italy’s Democratic Party is in the lead in a vote to pick the centre-left candidate for next year’s general election. With a third of the ballot counted, Pier Luigi Bersani was on around 44.6 percent.
His nearest rival, the Mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi had 36.5 percent.
Nichi Vendola, of the Left, Ecology, Freedom Party is in third place with 14.6 percent with two further candidates behind him.
An estimated three million people were eligible to take part in the vote. Queues formed at outdoor polling booths in cities across Italy.
The two front-runners in the poll will compete in a run-off on December 2nd. A general election is due in the Spring to replace the technocrat government of Prime Minister Mario Monti.