Italy goes to the polls after divisive election campaign

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Voting is under way in Italy in one of the most uncertain general elections in years.  The economy, unemployment and immigration have dominated public discourse throughout the campaigning season. 

Polls opened at 06:00 GMT and are set to close at 22:00 GMT, with local media expected to publish early exit polls immediately afterwards. More than 46 million Italians are eligible to vote. 

It could take some time before final results are announced, however, as none of the parties are expected to win the 40 percent needed to form a majority government. The level was introduced in a new law last year. 

Sunday’s election to choose a new government comes just two months after Italian President Sergio Mattarella dissolved the country’s parliament on December 28. 

The main parties competing include the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), The League (also known as the Northern League), the self-professed fascist party CasaPound and the neo-fascist Forza Nuova.

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