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— The mayor of Florence has conceded victory in a runoff primary to Pier Luigi Bersani to be the center-left's candidate for Italy's 2013 general elections.

In a Twitter message soon after polls closed Sunday, Mayor Matteo Renzi said: "It was the right thing to try, it was beautiful to do it together. Thank you all from the heart."

Sunday's primary has been closely watched since the Democratic Party, of which Bersani is leader, has a significant lead in the polls over Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom party looking ahead to general elections early next year.

Berlusconi's party has been in disarray following the media mogul's 2011 downfall, a series of corruption scandals within party ranks and Berlusconi's indecision over whether to run for a fourth term.

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