Italy’s long-running political stalemate appears to have been replicated in the contest for the mayor of Rome.
The election was widely seen as a key test of the country’s fragile coalition government, and in that respect the probable outcome is no surprise.
The centre-left candidate, Ignazio Marino of the Democratic Party, is projected to have won around 40 percent.
But his centre-right rival, the incumbent Gianni Alemanno is expected to garner around 31 percent making a run-off next month very likely.
This will further drag out the race between the two sides, who are uncomfortable bedfellows in the right-left coalition.
Projections also show Marcello De Vito, the candidate of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movment, with about 13 percent and therefore excluded from a run-off.
Turnout figures showed a steep drop to 53 percent of the electorate, down 20 points from previous mayoral elections in 2008.