Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni’s electoral alliance appeared to hold a wide lead in Italy’s national note, an exit poll on state television suggested shortly after polls closed on Sunday evening.
Rai state broadcaster said Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy in alliance with two right-wing parties appeared headed to take as much as 45% of the vote in both chambers of Parliament, compared to the closest contender, the centre-left alliance of former Democratic Party Premier Enrico Letta, apparently garnering as much as 29.5%.
Rai said the exit poll had a margin of error of 3.5%.
Ms Meloni, 45, would be well-positioned to become Italy’s first far-right premier since the end of World War Two and the first woman in the country to hold that office.
Her party, with neo-fascist roots, would need to form a coalition with her main allies, anti-migrant League leader Matteo Salvini and conservative former premier Silvio Berlusconi to command a solid majority in Parliament.
Ms Meloni’s meteoric rise in the European Union’s third-largest economy comes at a critical time, as much of the continent reels under soaring energy bills, a repercussion of the war in Ukraine.