Centre left leading in House, Senate races, says ministry
Bersani's alliance had 33% after a sixth of votes counted25 February, 19:54
The make-up of the Senate depends on the outcome of individual separate votes in Italy's regions, so it is possible for a coalition to win the most seats in it even if it loses the popular vote, if it carries some of the bigger regions, such as Lombardy, a key battleground.
Furthermore, it is harder to land a majority in the Upper House as bonus seats for the winning alliance are handed out on a regional basis there, unlike in the Lower House, where the calculations are done on a national basis.
The interior ministry said the centre-left alliance had 32.31% of the votes for the Italian Senate, after the ballot papers from over two-thirds of polling stations were counted, compared to 29.94% for the centre right. Comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) had 23.89% in the Upper House.
Outgoing Premier Mario Monti's reform ticket, which is backed by centrist parties, had 9.18%.
The ministry said the centre left had 31.62% in the House, with votes from over a third of the polling stations counted, compared to 27.02% for Berlusconi's alliance, 25.59% for M5S and 10.45% for Monti's ticket.