Millions select Italian left's nominee for prime minister

Milllions of Italian centre-left voters have cast their ballots to select a nominee for prime minister ahead of a general election next year. 

An exit poll showed Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani ahead of his rival Matteo Renzi.

But with only 44 percent of the vote, he fell short of a majority. 

That would mean there would be a run-off this Sunday. 

The exit poll showed Mr Renzi, the mayor of Florence, getting 36 percent. 

The winner of the nomination will be one of the favourites to replace Mario Monti as Italy's next prime minister.

Most recent polls show the main centre-left Democratic Party coming first in the general election.