Italy's election: Your views
- 26 February 2013
- From the section World
Italians have voted in the country's general election.
The election was called two months early after Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew support for Mario Monti's government.
Mr Monti's reform and austerity measures have been unpopular with many voters.
BBC News website readers in Italy have given their views on the election.
Eleonora Antonelli, Rome
The atmosphere in Rome is vibrant. This election feels different from the previous ones.
I voted for the Democratic Party. I like the party's leader, Pier Luigi Bersani. I feel I can trust him.
Italy doesn't need another big personality like Berlusconi. Berlusconi came along and he seemed to be acting on behalf of everyone in Italy. People really believed what he told them.
But Italy has had many problems with corruption. I feel that this is Italy's chance to finally get rid of Berlusconi. But more than that, it's the first real chance to get over the past and vote for a change in the country.
Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Five Star Movement, is too distractive. He has a big personality and a lot of people are voting for him as a protest vote, rather than for his policies.
We have many problems in Italy with our culture. People often stick with their political ideologies and are reluctant to change. They may vote for the same party as their parents.
But this election represents an opportunity for Italians to take responsibility and change things for the better.
Paolo Betta, Brescia
In this election I finally withdrew my support for Berlusconi after supporting him for 20 years.
Italy needs change. It needs new politicians - honest men and women.
I voted for Mario Monti. I wanted to support a new party, so I didn't vote for Bersani's Democratic Party or Berlusconi's People of Freedom because these parties are old.
The Five Star Movement is new, but it's only really a movement of protest. It is a party without structure. For deep change to take place, a party needs structure.
Italy has many problems, including economical ones. It's strange to have this feeling of stillness and stagnation in the country.
Many sectors are no longer doing well. For example, building and mechanical engineering aren't seeing much movement. We need to relaunch our markets and show our excellence in mechanics, food, fashion and tourism.
We can't bear all this mess and disorder any longer.
Ralph Holland, Rome
Only Berlusconi has the experience to deal with the situation.
The Beppe Grillo movement is an Italian phenomenon that is so bog-standard here. No-one will vote for him.
All will pretend to have voted for Bersani and his Democratic Party, but I suspect many many more than predicted will vote for Berlusconi.
The one and only thing holding back Italy is the Euro. It is fixed at the wrong rate - the German one - and Italy's pricing points across the board are not geared to Germany's pricing points.
At the very least, Berlusconi will have a strong say in the next legislation, and he just might win the election and become prime minister again.
I have lived here for years with my Italian husband and three children.
My husband and I both chose to vote for Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement. The alternatives are simply the same old, often corrupt candidates just re-presenting themselves.
Before the many complex issues are dealt with here, we need new faces who can give people hope that we can finally turn the page over and start over.
Things are not in the best shape here. A lot of people that were previously complacent and have good jobs in local authorities and banks, are now suffering and finding that they are not getting paid.
I don't normally go for extremes, and the same is true in elections. But I get the impression that Beppe Grillo is an honest man and ready to represent the people.
Italy desperately needs representatives who are trustworthy and genuine to improve things for everyone. We don't want politicians simply looking to line their own pockets.
Voting for Grillo is really the only effective way of getting that message across. Fingers crossed that things are going to change for the better here.
Giusi Cavaleri, Milan
I voted for Mario Monti because I think he worked well during the technocratic government.
If Silvio Berlusconi obtains a considerable proportion of the vote, we are in danger. We are in a deep recession after 20 years of his government, but a lot of Italians still vote for him because he is a good communicator.
I am worried about our public debt. I believe that we can't have real growth with this dangerous state.
Monti wants to reduce our huge public debt and to reduce our high cost of work to encourage companies hiring workers.
He thinks our companies have to become more competitive on the international scene and invest more in research and development.
Unfortunately, Mario Monti's party has not engaged in civil matters very much, such as looking at marriage for homosexuals or immigration issues.
He wants economic and fiscal reform, but he remains conservative about civil rights.