The first day of general elections held on February 24 and 25 was marked by a significant drop in participation compared to the last recent vote.

At 10pm on Sunday, only 55 per cent of registered voters had cast their ballots, as opposed to 62 per cent in 2008.

A similar turnout was reported for the regional elections that are taking place at the same time in Lombardy (north), Lazio (centre) and Molise (south), where all three regions have seen an increase of 9 per cent compared to 2008.