Italian voters head to the polls early Sunday for the first day of parliamentary elections.
The leaders they choose to succeed Mario Monti's technocrat government will have to tackle the country's longest recession in 20 years.
Final polls showed centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani narrowly leading long-time former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi has promised tax refunds and staged a media blitz to win back voters.
Capitalising on public disenchantment, comedian Beppe Grillo has also made advances, worrying many that there may be no clear winner.
(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN VOTER, VINCENZO D' OURIA, SAYING:
"I think there will be other elections and it will be worse than this one. There will be more protest and I see instability for the next two years and the markets on Tuesday will react negatively."
(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN VOTER, RISCA, SAYING:
"I hope everything goes well, because otherwise we are going to look stupid in front of everyone."
The main danger for Italy and the euro zone is a weak government incapable of making needed economic reforms, which would rattle investors and could ignite a new debt crisis.