Center-right gains momentum in Sicily toward 2018 vote

MILAN — A center-right candidate backed by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi has won a regional vote in Sicily, edging the populist 5-Star movement while dealing a resounding defeat to the Democratic Party that heads the Rome government.

The result Monday gives the center-right a boost heading into 2018 national elections, while also restoring the island's traditional political order after five years of center-left administration. Fewer than half of Sicily's 4.6 million eligible voters turned out Sunday for the last major electoral test before next year's parliamentary elections.

With 80 percent of the vote counted, center-right candidate Nello Musumeci had 39.9 percent of the vote, ahead of 5-Star candidate Giancarlo Cancelleri on 34.7 percent. The Democratic Party lagged at 18.6 percent.

Voter turnout was 46.7 percent, slightly lower than the last regional vote.

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