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The Comedian: Beppe Grillo

5 Star Movement (anti- establishment)

Beppe Grillo, the shaggy-haired comedian and former lawyer heads the protest vote called the "5 Star Movement." Formed in 2009, the grass-roots movement gained in regional elections in 2012 and now heads councils in Parma and Sicily.

Known for his foul-mouthed rants against the establishment and his anti-European and anti-euro stance, Grillo's popularity has spread through his use of internet campaigning. Grillo has travelled 6,200 miles around Italy in a camper van, holding rallies in cities that have drawn up to 100,000 supporters.

Though he was in third place in the polls with 16 percent of the vote before a blackout on opinion polls began, analysts told CNBC Grillo is the "joker in the pack" that should not be underestimated. Sources on the ground also said that a private survey was now putting Grillo ahead of Berlusconi. But Grillo has ruled out running for prime minister, as he was convicted in 1980 over a car accident in which three people died. Instead, he told CNBC, he is just a spokesman and guarantor of the movement.

Andreas Solaro | AFP | Getty Images