Early results indicate former European Commission chief, Romano Prodi has been chosen to lead Italy’s centre-left in next year’s general election.
It is expected he will run against Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
Prodi’s main rival, Fausto Bertinotti, the leader of the Communist Refoundation Party, looked set to come a distant second.
Voting yesterday was overshadowed by the mafia-style killing of a local politician.
This is the first time the centre left has held primaries to pick a leader and turnout was high.
The ballot is being described as ex-prime minister Prodi’s big comeback.
It raises the prospect of a new Prodi-Berlusconi electoral showdown. The last time they faced each other, in 1996, Prodi emerged the winner.