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Italian Voters Cast Ballots In Unpredictable Parliament Elections

Former Italian Prime Minister leader of Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi (left) arrives at a polling station in Milan as a bare-breasted woman from Femen protests in the background on March 4.

Italians are voting to determine a new parliament following a divisive campaign dominated by concerns over immigration and the economy.

Analysts have said the voting on March 4 could result in a draw between the antiestablishment 5-Star Movement, the anti-immigrant League Party, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy), and the Democratic Party.

Initial results are expected on March 5.

Three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 81, is not allowed to run for office because of a tax-fraud conviction. But he is looking to play a key role in a future government behind European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, his nominee for prime minister.

Tajani will battle coalition partner Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League Party, for dominance of Italy's center-right bloc and the right to be nominated as prime minister.

The Democratic Party’s Matteo Renzi rose from mayor of Florence to the prime minister’s post in 2014, but he resigned in 2016.

Luigi Di Maio, leads the populist 5-Star Movement, which has said it will not form a coalition with other parties to form a government.

If no party gains an overall majority, they may attempt to form further alliances, or President Sergio Mattarella could call for new elections.

The campaign has been marred by clashes between far-right and antifascist activists.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Bloomberg
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