Italy is on course for a hung parliament after voters backed right-wing and populist parties in Sunday’s general elections, vote projections based on partial results suggested on Monday.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition looks set to win the most seats in the lower house of parliament, BBC reported.
It is tipped to get 248-268 seats – below the 316 needed for a majority.
Forming a government may now take weeks of negotiation and coalition-building.
Alternatively, fresh elections could be held in a bid to produce a more decisive result – though there is no guarantee that would happen.
Public anger over unemployment and immigration appears to have battered the ruling Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Its centre-left coalition is projected to come a distant third, with an estimated 107-127 seats.
“It is clear to us that this is a blatant and clear defeat,” said Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina.
However, final confirmed results are not expected until Monday night.
Other exit polls by Mediaset, which is owned by Berlusconi, and by SkyTG24 obtained similar percentages.
Some 46 million Italians were eligible to vote in the elections held on Sunday.