Berlusconi ahead in Italy Senate race: projections

ROME Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:35am EST

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ROME (Reuters) - The centre-right coalition led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is leading in the race for the Italian Senate after the first projections based on early vote counting, Italian television stations reported on Monday.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo would have the largest share of the upper house vote of any single party, a projection for RAI television suggested.

The results, from SkyTG24, RAI and Mediaset, appear to contradict early telephone poll data released immediately after voting ended, which put the centre left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani ahead in both the lower house and Senate.

The upper house is elected on a region-by-region basis, which means that the final makeup will not be clear until local results are counted.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones and Steve Scherer)

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