Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

What next? Post-election scenarios for Italy

With the majority of ballots from Sunday's vote counted, the eurosceptic Lega Nord ("Northern League") led by Matteo Salvini was leading the dominant right-wing coalition with 37 percent of the vote.

The country faces a prolonged period of political instability after voters delivered a hung parliament on Sunday, spurning traditional parties and flocking to anti-establishment and far-right groups in record numbers.

The result could leave Italy with a hung Parliament and hard coalition talks lie ahead for parties vying to form the next government.

Earlier on Monday, Asian markets fell again as the fallout from Trump's proposed steel and aluminium tariffs fanned fears of a global trade conflict.

"Di Maio wins, Italy ungovernable", was the front page headline on La Stampa newspaper.

The center-left coalition that has governed Italy since 2013 trailed badly at 23 percent.

The coalition is expected to be launched next week.

The 5-Star once rejected talk of any power sharing, but it now says it is willing to discuss common policies but not negotiate over cabinet posts.

"The tremor is going to continue. there's really a populist national revolt (against the EU), it's building steam", Mr Bannon, who was in Rome for the election, said.

Minutes later, the head of the biggest single party, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, said it was ready to take on a responsible leadership role. M5S has always ruled out doing a deal, although party leader Luigi Di Maio told CNBC in February he was willing to hold talks with other parties. Di Maio noted that no campaign bloc had obtained a majority and that the 5-Stars had strong showings from north to south.

A Northern League/5-Star coalition would be a boon for the Kremlin which has had to weather several election disappointments in Europe after its successes in 2016 when voters in the United Kingdom opted to leave the European Union and American voters handed the White House to Donald Trump - both seen as major foreign policy wins for Putin. However, Italy has a long history of finding a way out of apparently intractable political stalemate.

In a bitter personal defeat that appeared unlikely last week, the billionaire media magnate's party looked nearly certain to be overtaken by its ally, the far-right League, which campaigned on a fiercely anti-migrant ticket.

Besides confirming the upswing for populist, right-wing and euroskeptic forces in Europe, the election verified the weakened status of the two political parties that have dominated Italian politics for decades - Forza Italia and the center-left Democrats.

Another far-right politician, France's Marine Le Pen, tweeted that the projected results signaled an anti-EU sentiment in the southern European country.

Parliament has until the summer to form a government.

The poll also showed the PD party had around 21.3 percent of the vote.

Regardless the outcome, Italy is now facing weeks of uncertainty as parties negotiate to form a ruling government. British far-right, pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage also congratulated the 5-Stars. After that, Italian President Sergio Mattarella will consult with party leaders to figure out which coalition alternative has the highest chances of surviving a confidence vote.

"The Democratic Party is leaving much better results to Italy than its predecessors". The other big victor from a ballot that will shake the rest of Europe was the hard right, populist Northern League, riding a wave of alarm in Italy over the arrival in recent years of hundreds of thousands of migrants.

The European Union has insisted that Italy take charge of the newcomers, letting hardly any of them move to other EU states.

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