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Italy: the right in the lead, but uncertainty about who will govern

Ⓒ AFP – Miguel MEDINA – | Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right Forza
Italia movement, votes for the legislative elections on 4 March
2018 in Milan

The right-wing and far-right coalition top the legislative
elections in Italy on Sunday, but there is still uncertainty
about who will govern the eurozone’s third economy, opening a
new period of uncertainty in Europe.

The anti-system Movement 5 Stars (M5S) confirm their rise in
power, becoming the first party in Italy with a score between
28 and 32%, according to the first estimates given by two
Italian television.

The right-wing and far-right coalition, theoretically led by
the 81-year-old billionaire and former Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi, gets between 30 and 41 percent of the

“The European Union will spend a bad night,” said Sunday
night on Twitter, the president of the French national front,
Marine Le Pen.

In fact, the populist movements, the Matteo salvini league
and M5S, have unquestionably achieved a breakthrough in this
founding country of the European Union, a few months after the
victory of Brexit in Great Britain and Donald Trump in the
United States.

These political forces, who have surfaced on immigration
fears, in a country that has hosted 690,000 migrants since
2013, would theoretically be able to have a majority in
Parliament, although their leaders have consistently dismissed
this assumption during the first half of the year.

The M5S, founded by the comic Beppe Grillo in 2009, had
already created a surprise by winning 25% of the vote in the
last legislative elections of 2013, and ensures a central
position in the future parliament if its score is

“There is a certain element that emerges from these early
data that is that the 5 Stars Movement will be the pillar of
the next legislature,” said Sunday evening one of its leaders,
Alfonso Bonafede.

– Margin of error of 4% –

These figures are however to be taken with caution, given a
margin of error of about 4%, and the complexity of the voting
system for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the

Ⓒ AFP – Andreas SOLARO – | Alfonso Bonafede, of the 5-star populist movement
(M5S), speaks after the closing of polling stations in Italy
where are held legislative elections, on March 4, 2018 in

The new electoral law mixes the proportional and majority
systems, and these estimates do not therefore give a clear idea
of ​​the composition of the two chambers. According to experts,
the threshold for obtaining the majority of seats is 40 to

Silvio Berlusconi, who had appeared in Europe as the only
bulwark against the populists, is in any case close to having
lost his bet.

His far-right ally, the League of Matteo Salvini, passed
from Lombard regionalism to a sovereignty inspired by the
French National Front, is on par with his Forza Italia party,
or exceeds it, according to some projections, including the

– Rise in power –

The Democratic Party (PD, center left) of Matteo Renzi has
for its part confirmed in the polls the poor result anticipated
by the polls with a score between 21 and 23.5%, far from the
40% won in the 2014 European elections .

The uncertainty surrounding this result opens the way to all
possible scenarios: right-wing majority, or grand coalition of
center-left and right-center moderates, although this seems to
be moving away, according to Italian commentators, or even
alliance of populists and anti-system of the League and the

It will be up to the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella,
to unravel the skein of these results, in the following weeks,
and to entrust an “exploratory mandate” to the one who appears
to him able to obtain a majority in Parliament.

Ⓒ AFP – Claudio GIOVANNINI – | Matteo Renzi, leader of the Democratic Party, arrives
to cast his ballot in the ballot box on March 4, 2018 in a
polling station in Florence

But these political consultations will not open before the
end of the month at the earliest, after the election of
presidents of the two chambers, opening a new period of
instability in Italy.

Sunday, the Italian press already seemed resigned that no
clear majority is emerging.

“The verdict against Italy is still the same: the country is
permanently unstable and ungovernability is now an endemic
disease,” said Claudio Tito in an editorial in La

Ⓒ AFP – Miguel MEDINA – | Matteo Salvini, leader of the extreme right allied to
the right of Silvio Berlusconi, vote for the legislative
elections on March 4, 2018 in Milan

Some 46 million Italians were expected to vote to elect 630
deputies and 315 senators. The polls closed at 23:00 (22:00
GMT) and the first official results are not expected until late
at night.

Many voters were bitter or disillusioned at the end of the
polls after a sometimes violent campaign dominated by
immigration or insecurity issues, like the Brexit campaign. in
Great Britain.

In addition, the neo-fascist movements
have multiplied public gatherings, which has caused tensions
with far-left activists, particularly after the shooting of a
right-wing activist against Africans in Macerata (center), in
retaliation for a sordid news item attributed to Nigerians.

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