Hours after polling stations closed in Italy the result of general elections is too close to call. Exit polls had indicated that center-left challenger Romano Prodi was in the lead, but preliminary results show that not all was lost for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
It could still swing either way. One thing is certain. The center-left coalition of Romano Prodi was close to celebrating their victory. Then the tide turned.
As results kept coming in from the different polling stations across the country, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appeared to gain and led in the senate, the upper house of parliament.
In the lower house, the two sides are running neck and neck. Observers say there is no question that the country is divided.
The interior ministry said around 84 percent of the country's 47 million eligible voters cast their ballots.
When exit polls showed Prodi's coalition in the lead, he called a news conference to declare victory, but then voting results started coming in showing Prime Minister Berlusconi pulling even and Prodi cancelled the news conference.
In Italy, the Senate and lower chamber of parliament have equal powers, and any coalition would have to control both to form a government. Berlusconi and Prodi have both said new elections should be called if neither side controls both houses.