Tuesday 18 December 2018

No clear majority as Eurosceptic parties surge in Italy election

The partial results showed that two parties with the most Eurosceptic platforms topped the 50% needed to rule Italy.

Italy Elections
Italy Elections

By Frances D'Emilio and Colleen Barry

Rival populist and stridently anti-European Union political forces have surged in Italy’s parliamentary election, but neither gained enough support to govern the country alone, preliminary results showed on Monday.

With no faction winning a clear majority, the results confirmed that negotiations to form a new government that could win a confidence vote in parliament would be fraught.

“Ungovernable Italy” headlined daily newspaper La Stampa as the early numbers rolled in.

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Preliminary results released by Italy’s interior ministry showed the centre-right coalition winning about 37% of the parliamentary vote and the 5-Star Movement getting about 31%, with the centre-left coalition far behind with 23%.

In an upset, the partial results showed the right-wing, anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic League party of Matteo Salvini surpassing its coalition partner, the establishment Forza Italia party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

According to the partial results, the League captured around 18% of the vote, while Forza Italia had less than 14%.

With the anti-establishment 5-Stars the highest vote-getter of any single party, the results confirm the defeat of the two main political forces that have dominated Italian politics for decades — Forza Italia and the centre-left — and the surging of populist and right-wing, Eurosceptic forces.

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“The European Union is having a bad evening,” French far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage also congratulated the 5-Stars.

The League was particularly strong in the north, its traditional base.

In Veneto, where it won 11% of the vote in the last elections in 2013, it captured around 48% this time around.

The 5-Stars had a remarkably strong showing in the south, which has long been a stronghold of the centre-right and Forza Italia.

The partial results showed that the two parties with the most Eurosceptic platforms — the 5-Stars and the League — together topped the 50% needed to rule Italy.

While the two are rivals, that scenario has been seen as the key barometer to watch to gauge Italy’s relations with Brussels, and a “nightmare scenario” for the European Union and markets if they were to form an unlikely alliance.

Claudio Borghi of the League told Sky that the election results sent a clear message to Brussels.

“I think the will of the Italian people is very clear. The forces in favour of what Europe has done have been redimensioned,” Borghi told Sky TG24.

“It’s a very strong message.”

The League’s Salvini, who never has held public office in Italy, fed public anger at the EU’s inability to help handle hundreds of thousands of migrants who flooded the country in recent years after being rescued while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

He tweeted “Thanks!” to his supporters as the results came in.

Press Association

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