Italy

Sicily Shifts to the Left

Had long been supporters of center-right parties.

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Sicily elected a governor from Italy's center-left parties for the first time in more than a decade on Monday, in a ballot that underscored rising voter disaffection with the country's political establishment and the growing popularity of a protest party led by a former comedian.

Sicily's political map, which is closely watched as a bellwether of the coming national elections in the spring, was redrawn by Monday's election results. Backing crumbled for center-right parties that once considered Sicily a bastion of support.

The vote came as rating firm Fitch on Monday downgraded Sicily one notch closer to junk territory, citing expectations of a prolonged period of budgetary deficits in the Italian region. Sicily is one of Italy's poorest regions, with an unemployment rate of nearly 20%, twice the national average.