Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi celebrated late into the night on Monday after his centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party won a decisive victory in Italy's general elections.
The media mogul, 71, seen here voting on Sunday, says he feels great responsibility ahead of his third term as prime minister, but has warned of difficult months ahead.
His principal rival, the centre-left leader Walter Veltroni, conceded defeat on Monday night, after his Democratic Party (PD) won less than 40% of votes in both the lower and upper houses.
In Italy's system, prime ministers must have control of both houses to govern and Mr Berlusconi appears to have captured that as counting concluded on Monday night.
The vote was held after the collapse of Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition. Turnout for the elections was around 80%, lower than in the last election, two years ago.
Some 158 parties contested the regional and national polls. Alessandra Mussolini (pictured), an ally of Mr Berlusconi, is the grand-daughter of ex-dictator Benito Mussolini.