Veteran Democratic Party leader, Pier Luigi Bersani has won the race to become the Italian centre-left candidate for prime minister in national elections next year.
After securing over 60 per cent of the vote and with his party riding high in the polls, Bersani is seen as favourite to take on the still-to-be-chosen centre-right candidate for the chance to succeed prime minister Mario Monti.
The size of his win against fellow Democratic party member Matteo Renzi came as a surprise.
The youthful Renzi who is Mayor of Florence portrayed himself as a reformer and the voice of a new generation, wanting to shake-up Italy’s largest centre-left party.
But voters appear to have sided with experience over youth with the country in the midst of its worst economic crisis in the post war period.
For his part, Bersani has said jobs will be his priority as the country struggles with an 11 per cent unemployment rate.