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Monday, February 25, 2013

Can't wait for Italian election results? Here's a timeline

Elections in Italy are always spread over two days. Yesterday, about 55% of Italians cast their vote - marking a sharp 7.4% decline in turnout compared to the first day of the previous general elections in 2008. Turnout was generally much higher in the North than in the South of the country.

Polling stations will close today at 2pm GMT. How long will we have to wait to know the results? Here's an approximate timeline, although a lot will depend on how speedy the counting is (all times are GMT):

2pm: Polling stations close, and the first exit polls are released. Exit polls can give a first idea, but clearly have to be taken with a pinch of salt (they were quite far from the final outcome in the 2006 general elections, for instance). Counting starts shortly after closure, and Senate votes will be counted first.

3pm: First projections for the Senate are expected. These are going to be updated quite often - presumably every hour. The more votes are counted, the more reliable the projections. Have a look at our pre-election briefing to get a clearer idea of why the balance of power in the Italian Senate is key to these elections.

From here on, everything really depends on how quickly/smoothly the counting goes. Each polling station is free to start counting the votes for the lower chamber after all the Senate ballot papers have been counted.  

Around 7-8pm: Counting for the Senate should be over everywhere in the country. Counting for the lower chamber usually takes longer, given that only people aged over 25 are allowed to vote for the Senate - while everyone aged over 18 can vote for the lower chamber.

Around 11pm: It should be possible to get a good idea of the outcome for the lower chamber, although the final results will probably only be announced tomorrow morning.

The website of the Italian Interior Ministry (see here) will update the results real time, as they arrive from polling stations across the country. But to those who don't speak Italian and want the most important info from a variety of sources we recommend following us @OpenEurope or @LondonerVince

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