It's a tight race to the finish today -- some polls show Pier Luigi Bersani's Center-Left party with a strong lead over former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Center-Right party. But protest votes may throw a wrench in the works, and conflicting reports also show Berlusconi's party taking the lead in the Senate race.
And that's all without taking about the incumbent Premier, Mario Monti, or the comedian-turned-potential PM, Beppe Grillo.
Check back here for the latest updates on projections, results and fallout from Italy's high-stakes election.
BEFORE YOU GO
02/25/2013 5:17 PM EST
A Victory...For Italian Democracy?
@ duncanmcdonnell :
Amid the confusion, today provides 1 nice reminder: Italian democracy's fate is not solely in hands of the markets, the EU, or editorials.
02/25/2013 5:09 PM EST
Chamber Of Deputies Deadlock?
The latest figures released by the interior ministry shows a 0,72% margin between the Centre-left and the Centre-right coalitions.
02/25/2013 4:54 PM EST
Monti 'Satisfied' With Results
Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Monday that no country has such a bad electoral law as Italy. Monti added that he is satisfied with results of his centrist coalition.
@ CiancioTR :
Monti says no country has such a bad electoral law as Italy #italyreuters #italyvote
02/25/2013 4:50 PM EST
Senate Results Could Change
According to HuffPost Italy, if the Centre-left coalition wins in the norther region of Piedmont, the Senate results would be overturned and the Democratic Party would win with a relative majority.
02/25/2013 4:38 PM EST
Shock Wave Results
The Guardian reporters John Hooper and Lizzy Davies recap the biggest events of the day and come to a sobering conclusion.
Crucially, it seemed certain that neither right nor left could obtain an outright majority in the upper house, where the balance would be held by the M5S. So far, Grillo has ruled out supporting either side in his drive to sweep away Italy’s existing political parties and the cronyistic culture they support.
Exceeding even the most adventurous pre-electoral predictions, the populist M5S was set to emerge as Italy’s biggest single party - a result that will send shock waves through the eurozone and beyond. Because it is running alone and not in a coalition, however, Grillo’s movement lagged the two big alliances in the number of seats.
The emerging result indicated that fresh elections were a strong possibility and, at best, foreshadowed a weak government unable to pass the tough reforms Italy needs to enhance its grim economic prospects.
Read the full analysis on the Guardian website.
02/25/2013 4:33 PM EST
@ AP :
Stocks plunge as investors worry that Italy could be seized with political paralysis; Dow drops 216: http://t.co/cAavWvIAuU -RJJ
02/25/2013 4:09 PM EST
Italy's Complicated Election Law
The Guardian explains Italy's complicated election laws, and recaps the latest results:
Election laws in Italy mean the biggest party in the Chamber of Deputies is guaranteed a 54% majority. But the Senate has no such "majority bonus". The latest projection from Rai shows Berlusconi's bloc winning 112 Senate seats, the centre-left 105, Grillo 64, with Monti's centrists on only 20. The Senate majority is 158.
Read more from The Guardian here.
02/25/2013 3:55 PM EST
Grillo Thanks His Supporters
Beppe Grillo spoke for the first time since the closing of the polls, thanking all his supporters for "a fantastic adventure."
Grillo added on his movement's YouTube channel that Italy's two main parties have failed. "They have been around for the past 25 years, they embody Italy's problem."
"Handing back the country to Silvio Berlusconi for six months, or a year, is a crime against the galaxy, against the entire galaxy," Grillo also said.
02/25/2013 3:46 PM EST
Can't Keep A Good Man Down
The detail of a ripped election poster shows a smiling Silvio Berlusconi on February 25, 2013 in Livorno, Italy. (Laura Lezza/Getty Images)