World News

Polls Close in Italy

The polls have closed in Italy, where voters are now anxiously awaiting the results of the country's most important elections in years.

Early exit polling Monday showed Pier Luigi Bersani's center-left Democratic Party leading in both the Italian Senate and in the lower house of parliament.

Bersani has campaigned in support of some of the tough economic reforms spearheaded by current Prime Minister Mario Monti, who is trailing badly.

Close behind Bersani in most of the exit polls is former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The billionaire is looking to make an unlikely political comeback while facing trials on charges ranging from fraud to having sex with an underage prostitute.

Many of the exit polls have comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement in third.

Voters angry over a prolonged economic slump and a discredited political elite cast ballots with many looking to anti-establishment parties promising radical change.

Fellow European Union members are keeping a close eye on Italy's two-day national election that could shape the future of the economic bloc's third-largest economy.

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