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Italians Voting at General Election With Few Queues, Little Excitement Spotted

© AP Photo / Andrew Medichini / Polling operations begin in Rome, Sunday, March 4, 2018. An election in Italy on Sunday will determine the makeup of the nation's Parliament and its next government
Polling operations begin in Rome, Sunday, March 4, 2018. An election in Italy on Sunday will determine the makeup of the nation's Parliament and its next government - Sputnik International
ROME (Sputnik) - Italian general election held this Sunday, which may bring the right wing to the government, has been looking rather sluggish so far, with no long queues or high enthusiasm spotted at polling stations, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

At a polling station in central Rome, there are nearly 20 people in the line, most of them middle-aged or senior citizens. No young person has appeared in over an hour. Some of the voters are reading the poster with the explanation of the parties' programs and alliances on the wall of a beautiful ancient school.

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Italians are electing the members of the parliament and the country's prime minister. Fears that populists, right-wing and anti-establishment, could do really well in this vote have been quiet eloquent.

"I didn't have any doubts who to vote [for] today, it was easy for me, I always vote the same. I even did it without glasses, I forgot them at home," Francesca, 91 year-old, smartly dressed Italian lady, who speaks perfect English and four other languages, told Sputnik, exiting the polling station.

The maturity of a political force is the main criterion for Francesca.

"There can be no doubt here. All my friends think the same, and actually also young generation — all my nephews," she said.

This election is a competition among the ruling Democratic Party (PD), led by Matteo Renzi, center-right Forza Italia, led by a famous master of a political comeback Silvio Berlusconi, right-wing anti-immigrant Lega (formerly Lega Nord), run by Matteo Salvini, and anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) with Luigi Di Maio. There are some other smaller parties who established alliances with others. Thus, the center-right coalition has already taken shape and comprises four parties. M5S ruled out any coalitions.

READ MORE: Italian Elections: It is the EU, Not Russia, Who is the Meddler – Journalist

"It was good that I didn't have to wait much to enter, just around 10 minutes. Actually, there are not many people around. I think many Italians will prefer to stay home today, they don't know… Luckily it's not raining today. Otherwise even less people would com," Francesca said.

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Sunday vote is the first test of a new voting system in Italy — a mixture between first-past-the-post and proportional representation, and is believed to be one of the most unpredictable the country has ever had. Under the new system, 64 percent of seats will be determined through proportional representation, while the rest will be elected through first-past-the-post system.

"On Tuesday we are meeting with all my friends to discuss the results. We all think the same," Francesca said smiling.

Exit polls will be available after the polling stations close at 11 p.m. (10 p.m. GMT), and first results are expected late at night, with some clear picture not before Monday afternoon.

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