ROME An ally of Silvio Berlusconi is leading in the vote for the Lombardy regional government, a key race that could have a major impact on national politics, according to an opinion poll published on SkyTG 24.
The poll, first issued on Monday and repeated on Tuesday, points to a win for Northern League leader Roberto Maroni that could reinforce the coalition between Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party and the pro-devolution League.
The Lombardy ballot, which took place on the same day as the general election which failed to produce a parliamentary majority, has no direct effect on the national vote but a loss for Maroni would be a blow to the fragile center-right alliance.
The Sky Italia poll gave Maroni taking 38 percent of the vote, three points ahead of his nearest rival.
Counting in the regional poll began on Tuesday and a result is not expected until later in the afternoon.
(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; editing by James Mackenzie)