Eurosceptic Populists Win, Mainstream Parties Lose

07 March, 2018, 00:25 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • EU gives Italy a warning over fragile economy

Italy's inconclusive parliamentary election leaves open a wide range of possible alliances, putting the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in the drivers' seat as the largest party.

Although Italy now faces a hung parliament with weeks of political uncertainty ahead, Sunday's vote made one thing clear: Italian voters are increasingly skeptical of European Union control over the country's immigration and economic policies.

He said he would not step down until a government is formed, and that in the meantime his party would shun the coalition talks which will be necessary as no party or alliance got enough votes for a working majority.

"Ungovernable Italy" headlined daily newspaper La Stampa as the early numbers rolled in. A separate coalition comprising the far-right League and center-right Forza Italia is set to win most seats in the lower house of parliament, with a combined 37 percent of the vote. DW looks at the man who unseated the twenty-year leader of Italy's far-right party.

The leader of Italy's right-wing Lega (League) party said the center-right coalition, which won the largest share of the vote but not a majority, has the "right and duty" to govern the country.

The coalition is expected to be launched next week.

The center-right Forza Italia party of Silvio Berlusconi (l.) was eclipsed by the far-right Northern League party led by his coalition partner Matteo Salvini (r.).

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The leading party was the Five Star Movement (M5S).

Democratic Party member and outgoing parliamentarian Andrea Marcucci said that the voters had spoken "clearly and incontrovertibly" and that "The populists had won and the (Democratic Party) had lost".

Founded in 2009 by comedian Beppe Grillo, who denounced cronyism in Italian politics, Five Star is now led by Luigi Di Maio, 31. Di Maio noted Monday that no campaign bloc had obtained a majority and that the 5-Stars had strong showings from north to south.

The 5-Star movement tripled the number of parliamentarians over the last election in 2013, when it was also the first party but only by a hair's breadth and the government went to the Democratic Party.

Italy has been hit by a historic political natural disaster.

Italy's general election result suggests populism in Europe in not on the wane but alive and kicking after a surge of support for anti-establishment groups crushed the old centre-left and centre-right parties - but left the country looking less governable than ever.

"All the fissures that Europe faces will be exacerbated by this government", he said.

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Latest results show Five Star garnering 32.3% of the vote, while the League received 17.6% of the vote and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia 14%.

It will now be up to President Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional scholar, to sound out the political parties to determine who has the best chances of forming a government.

BBC Europe editor Katya Adler said that the results could be a nightmare come true for the European Union: "a coalition between the "populist Eurosceptics": Five Star and Lega [the League party]".

The former prime minister warned about "a wind of extremism" in Italy and ruled out his party acting as a "crutch" for any future populist government.

"No, no, no", Salvini said when asked about the possibility of governing with the 5-Stars. Meanwhile, the country's variegated populist parties hold a combined comfortable lead of approximately 55 percent.

The ruling left of the PD, which has been characterized as an ostrich with its head in the sand, ignoring Italy's migrant crisis on the one hand and its catastrophic economic predicament on the other, fell to its lowest level in decades, essentially confirming predictions of a "collapse" of the establishment left.

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