With no faction winning a clear majority in Sunday's vote and the two rival leaders claiming victory, a hung Parliament is expected and long, fraught negotiations to form a new government lie ahead.
Italy's future seems uncertain as projections show that no single bloc or party has the support to win a majority in Parliament.
Pollsters predict that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his far-right allies will emerge as the largest bloc in parliament, but fall short of a parliamentary majority.
Italy's rival political parties made a final bid for votes on Friday ahead of an election in which former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is gunning for a leading role in shaping any new government.
An ancient gated extension of the city where left-leaning Italians once fought against Mussolini and Hitler has now become a breeding ground for right-wing populism.
Sunday’s result could leave Italians without a clear winner, complicating the country’s already uncertain political future.
A parliamentary election set for March 4 may bring a new era of uncertainty to the country as it is expected to produce a hung parliament.
Both a centre-right coalition backed by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and the populist 5-Star Movement claimed momentum going into a national election next year following the results of Sicily's regional vote.
The polls pose a powerful threat to Rome, even if they don't mean independence. The regions of Lombardy and Veneto will ask citizens to vote for greater autonomy and tax sharing.
Italy's ex-premier will go on trial in July according to court orders. He is accused of witness tampering and pay-offs over his alleged sex parties at his Milan residence between 2011 and 2015.
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