Exit polls are indicating that far-right leader Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party, which has neo-fascist roots, are most likely to form a new government - with Meloni becoming Italy’s first female PM.
Meloni would be positioned to form the country’s first far-right-led government since the end of World War II. If Meloni becomes premier, she will be the first woman in Italy to hold that office.
She is predicted to win between 22-26 per cent of the vote, says a Rai exit poll, ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre-left.
Other exit polls give her right-wing alliance a commanding lead, with 41-45 per cent of the vote.
“Today you can help write history,” Meloni tweeted Sunday.
Meloni’s party was forged from the legacy of a neo-fascist party formed shortly the war by nostalgists of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Four hours before polls’ closing time, turnout was running 7% lower than at the same time in 2018, which had a record-setting low turnout of 73%.
The counting of paper ballots was expected to begin shortly after polling stations close at 11 p.m. (2100 GMT), with projections based on partial results coming early Monday.
Italian businesses and households are struggling to pay gas and electricity bills, which in some cases are 10 times higher than last year’s.
Draghi remains as caretaker until a new government is sworn in.