Eurosceptic parties surge in Italy vote, but no majority

Italy votes in uncertain election stalked by populism

Italy votes in uncertain election stalked by populism

Claudio Borghi, the League's economic adviser, spoke of a historic result and a turning-point because from today the League has become a national party and the center-right will be led by Matteo Salvini.

But yesterday's poll failed to produce a clear victor, since none of the parties or coalitions won enough votes to govern alone.

The result - a hung parliament - means negotiations will have to begin between the major parties to see if a coalition deal can be reached. Financial markets opened lower on Monday on the news and were volatile. As La Stampa splashed on its front page today: "Di Maio wins, Italy ungovernable".

According to the Termometro Politico poll, based on the interview of 4,500 people, between February 3 and 10, M5S received 26.3 percent of the vote, and Forza Italia had 15.9 percent of the vote in the poll, signaling that the center-right bloc could win a majority if the coalition gets the predicted 37.5 percent.

Salvini said Monday the result indicates a center-right bloc will lead the next government and that his party had would lead the center-right, after eclipsing center-right ally partner Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia in the vote. "I couldn't do any more than this", said a defeated Berlusconi gathered in his villa outside Milan, according to Italian nmedia.

"Italians have chosen to take back control of the country from the insecurity and precariousness put in place by (centre-left Democratic Party leader Matteo) Renzi", Salvini told a press conference. Di Maio noted Monday that no campaign bloc had obtained a majority and that the 5-Stars had strong showings from north to south.

Beaten by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and a centre-right coalition dominated by the eurosceptic League, Renzi acknowledged the defeat at PD headquarters in Rome.

Italy has been hit by a historic political quake.

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For Matthew J. Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, the Italian election fit a common European pattern: the demise of traditional Social Democratic parties across Europe; the rightward shift of voters, "largely in response to public concerns over migration, immigration, refugees and security"; and the rise of younger parties, like Five Star or Alternative for Germany, or Emmanuel Macron's En Marche in France, which are rapidly soaking up voters sick of mainstream politics.

The League got 18 percent and Forza Italia 14 percent.

About half of the Italian electorate voted for parties that were only recently marginal protest groups led by maverick figures such as Beppe Grillo, the foul-mouthed former comedian and blogger, who in 2010 founded the Movimento 5 Stelle party or 5-Star Movement as it is known in English. He will choose someone to try to form a government as he cajoles former rivals to get over the rancour of the campaign. But the task awaiting Italy's President Sergio Mattarella, who must now steer Italy's divided political groupings towards forming a workable majority, will test the 77-year old's proverbial calm.

Some political experts say Italy would face a political revolution if M5S and the Lega formed a coalition government.

Unlike many previous far-right leaders in Italy, Salvini has also made a priority of aligning himself with other populist leaders.

"Keeping these promises would send the budget deficit over the 3 per cent limit", said Nobile, referring to the European Union budget rules that govern the single currency.

US President Donald Trump had on Saturday threatened European automakers with a tax on imports if the European Union retaliates against his plan to slap tariffs on aluminium and steel.

At this time a year ago, the rise of populism was considered by many economists as the gravest cloud hanging over Europe's economic future, especially as worries over Greece had abated.

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