Centre-right bloc backed by former prime minister claims victory in Sicilian election, seen as dry run for national vote due next May

Silvio Berlusconi looked poised for a stunning political comeback as his rightist bloc claimed victory in an election in Sicily that puts it in pole position for a national vote due by next May.

The regional Sicilian ballot, held on Sunday, was seen as a dry run for the nationwide election, with many of the island’s problems reflecting those of the country as a whole: high unemployment, a debt mountain and sluggish economic growth.

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