ROME: Italy faces a prolonged period of political instability after voters delivered a hung parliament in Sunday’s election, spurning traditional parties and flocking to anti-establishment and far-right groups in record numbers.
With half the ballot counted, it looked almost certain that none of Italy’s three main factions would be able to rule alone and there was little prospect of a return to mainstream government, giving the European Union (EU) a new headache to handle.
Scenarios now include the creation of a more euro-sceptic coalition, which would likely challenge EU budget restrictions and be little interested in further European integration, or swift new elections to try to break the deadlock.
A rightist alliance including former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) emerged with the biggest bloc of votes, ahead of the anti-system 5-Star Movement, which saw its support soar to become Italy’s largest single party.
Despite overseeing a modest economic recovery, the ruling centre-left coalition came a distant third, hit by widespread anger over persistent poverty, high unemployment and an influx of more than 600,000 migrants over the past four years.
The full result is not due until much later on Monday.