Italy's centre-left coalition leader Romano Prodi has claimed a narrow victory in the country's general election.
The ruling centre-right coalition, however, is disputing the results, saying they are too close to call.
Initial exit polls suggested that Mr Prodi had secured a clear win, but as the night progressed, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi closed the gap.
As the uncertainty has continued, so Mr Berlusconi has shied away from the media.
Ballot counting began shortly after polls closed on Monday, after two days of voting.
During the poll, Mr Prodi was joined by his wife and granddaughter after casting his ballot in Bologna.
Mr Berlusconi was chided by election officials for helping his 95-year-old mother vote for his Forza Italia party.
Correspondents say voters found the choice difficult, and that the election was more of a referendum on Mr Berlusconi's leadership.