A general election in Italy in early 2018 is likely to end in a hung parliament, mimicking the political situation across much of Europe.
The exact date for the election is yet to be confirmed, although the likely date is March 4. An opinion poll by EMG Acqua from early December suggested that no one party would gain a majority of the votes, creating a "hung parliament" situation.
The center-right bloc of Forza Italia, Lega Nord and Fratelli d'Italia, led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, remains the frontrunner with center-right parties seeing a combined popularity of around 35.1 percent.
The anti-establishment, euroskeptic Five Star Movement (M5S) under Luigi Di Maio is second in the polls, with 28.3 percent of the vote.
The center-left is lagging behind with various parties on that side of the political spectrum looking like they could gain a combined 30 percent of the vote, as it stands. The Democratic Party (PD) of former prime minister Matteo Renzi has seen its popularity decline to 25.3 percent, putting it in third place as a sole party.
Lorenzo Codogno, professor at the London School of Economics and founder at LC Macro Advisors, told CNBC on Thursday that the race was between "four major forces: the center-right, the center-left, the left and the Five Star Movement."
However, he said that the most likely scenario "is a hung parliament which effectively means a grand coalition," and that could lead to instability.