The Local's live coverage of the European Parliament elections has now finished. Head to The Local Italy's homepage for more updates.
12.00am A projection released by Italian state broadcaster RAI puts the Democratic Party (PD) in an even more favourable position than early exit polls:
40.2 percent – Matteo Renzi – Democratic Party (PD)
23.1 percent – Beppe Grillo – Five Star Movement (M5S)
16 percent – Silvio Berlusconi – Forza Italia
11.30pm For more details on the exit polls, check out The Local's article:
11.05pm Exit polls are in, pointing to a win for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi:
33 percent – Matteo Renzi – Democratic Party (PD)
26.5 percent – Beppe Grillo – Five Star Movement (M5S)
18 percent – Silvio Berlusconi – Forza Italia
10.45pm With 15 minutes to go until exit polls are released in Italy, let's take a look at what's happening around Europe:
10.15pm Turnout in Italy has hit 60 percent, according to official EU statistics, the fourth-highest in Europe and well above the EU average of 43.11 percent. Both Belgium and Luxembourg boasted an impressive 90 percent turnout, followed by Malta with 74.81 percent.
The data however show a gradual decline in voter participation in Italy – along with the rest of the EU – from a peak of 85.65 percent in 1979.
9.45pm While we await results in Rome, The Local's team in Paris is reporting that Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front Party is set to top the vote in France:
— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) May 25, 2014
9.15pm Pre-election polls recorded by election website electionista put Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in the lead with 32.87 percent, followed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Beppe Grillo, with 25.06 percent and Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia falling behind with 19.20 percent.
8.45pm What do European expats in Italy think about the EU elections? We took to the streets of Rome to find out:
8.15pm Here's a photo of a confident-looking Matteo Renzi, prime minister and leader of the Democratic Party (PD), voting today in Tuscany. Beppe Grillo has said if his Five Star Movement (M5S) wins the EU vote he will push Renzi for fresh national elections.
Matteo Renzi voting at a polling station in Pontassieve near Florence. Photo: Claudio Giovannani AFP
8.00pm Italians have three hours left to vote in the EU elections. While we wait, let's have a look at the three key reasons they should head to the polls:
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
7.45pm Despite discontent with the EU, some Italians believe voting in the European Parliament elections is the best way to improve life at home:
Check out the Twitter hasktag #iovoto to see a stream of more enthusiastic voters.
7.30pm Turnout in Italy was around 44 percent at 7.00pm, according to election watchers at electionista:
#EP2014 – Italy – turnout at 7pm was around 44%
— electionista (@electionista) May 25, 2014
Check out The Local's live Twitter coverage from across Europe. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
7.00pm According to research company TNS Opinion, at lunchtime turnout in Italy was higher than a number of EU countries including France:
— TNS opinion (@TNS_opinion) May 25, 2014
6.30pm Do Italians care about the vote?
A recent poll showed that Italians were falling out of love with the EU. Check out our recent article last week, which asks why has Italy turned Eurosceptic overnight?
6.00pm As The Local begins its live coverage of the European Parliament elections from Rome, let's take a look at some key figures:
- Italy will elect 73 MEPs today, of a total of 751 to be voted in across 28 EU countries.
- The elections run from May 22nd to 25th, with Italy being the last country to finish voting at 11.00pm.
- The results from all 28 countries will be announced tonight, the EU has said.
Here's a video with more key facts and figures: