Rome

>>>ANSA/Exit polls put centre left in front

Bersani set to capture 34.5% of vote for House, says Sky Italia

>>>ANSA/Exit polls put centre left in front

Rome, February 25 - Pier Luigi Bersani's centre left had a significant lead in two early exit polls in both houses of parliament after the voting stations closed in Italy's general election on Monday. The centre left was set to capture 34.5% of the vote for the House in a Tecne' poll for Sky Italia, compared to 29% for Silvio Berlusconi's centre right and 19% for comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S). Outgoing Premier Mario Monti's reform ticket, which is backed by centrist parties, had 9.5% in the same poll. The statistics agency said this would translate into a majority in the House for the centre left, which would have 340 seats. The centre right was set to win 140 seats, M5S 91, and Monti 46. Tecne' said the centre left had 37% in the Senate, with the centre right taking 31%, M5S taking 16.5% and Monti winning 9%. It will be harder to land a majority in the Upper House as bonus seats for the winning alliance are handed out on a regional basis there, unlike in the Lower House, where the calculations are done on a national basis. One senior centre-left figure said the early poll results made him hopeful his alliance should have a working majority in parliament that will enable it to govern the country. "The first figures are not very far away from the predictions beforehand," said Cesare Damiano of the main centre-left Democratic Party (PD). "We are heading towards confirmation that it will be a positive result for the centre left and we are going towards the ability to govern in both houses, which is what the markets are banking on," he added, referring to a drop in Italy's bond spread after the results of the exit polls were released. A Piepoli poll for state broadcaster Rai also gave the centre left a lead in the House, although the figures were slightly different. It gave Bersani's alliance 35-37% in the House, Berlusconi's 29-31%, M5S 19-21% and Monti 8-10%. It said the centre left was set to win 36-38% of votes for the Senate, compared to 30-32% for the centre right, 17-19% for M5S and 7-9% for Monti, astride the 8% bar for getting into the Upper House. Grillo said via Twitter that "honesty will become fashionable" after the polls said M5S was set to perform strongly after tapping into public disenchantment with the established parties caused in part by a series of corruption scandals.

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