Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy says all political parties will need to make sacrifices to form a government, after parliamentary elections ended without a clear winner.
His opponents in the Democratic Party won an overall majority in the lower house, but no party will have such a majority in the Senate.
To further confuse matters, an anti-establishment party led by a comedian from Genoa won a quarter of the popular vote.
Mr Berlusconi said his group won't be part of any coalition with pro-austerity parties.
A bloc led by current Prime Minister Mario Monti came fourth, with about 10%.
Mr Berlusconi, 76, left office in November 2011, amid claims of economic mismanagement as the eurozone struggled to contain Italy's debt crisis.
The European Commission said on Tuesday the EU expected Italy to "honour its commitments" on debt and deficit reduction, and other structural reform.