ROME (Reuters) - Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement narrowly won the first round of a vote to govern Ostia, one of Rome's largest neighborhoods, as the center-right surged, official results showed on Monday.
Sunday's closely watched contest in the beachfront district comes more than a year after the 5-Star took control of Rome's city hall for the first time, winning two-thirds of the vote.
Five-Star candidate Giuliana Di Pillo won just over 30 percent of the vote compared with almost 27 percent for Monica Picca, who headed a coalition that included Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the far-right Brothers of Italy party.
The two will face each other in a runoff to be held on Nov. 19. The ruling center-left Democratic Party, which came in second to the 5-Star in Rome last year, won less than 14 percent of the vote, while far-right parties gained ground.
The neo-fascist, anti-immigrant Casapound party, which is not part of the center-right coalition, garnered 9 percent against just 1.8 percent last time around.
The previous center-left administration for the capital's seaside borough, which has more than 230,000 inhabitants, was dissolved two years ago after police said it had fallen under the influence of organized crime.
The Ostia vote took place on the same day as a regional vote in Sicily that appeared to signal a comeback for Berlusconi's center-right coalition, with the 5-Star trailing marginally, according to projections on Monday morning.
(Additional reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, reporting and writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Crispian Balmer)