Parliamentary elections in Italy appear headed to deadlock
By The Associated Press
Published: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 7:39 p.m.
ROME — The prospect of political paralysis hung over Italy on Monday as near complete official results in crucial elections showed an upstart protest campaign led by a comedian making stunning inroads and mainstream forces of center-left and center-right wrestling for control of Parliament's two houses.
The story of the election in the eurozone's third-largest economy was shaping up to be the astonishing vote haul of comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo, whose Five Star Movement has capitalized on a wave of voter disgust with the ruling political class.
Another surprise has been the return as a political force of billionaire media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, who was forced from the premiership at the end of 2011, and whose forces now have a strong chance of coming out on top in the Italian Senate. His main rival, the center-left Pier Luigi Bersani, appeared headed toward victory in Parliament's lower house.
The unfolding murky result raised the possibility of new elections in upcoming months and bodes badly for the nation's efforts to pass the tough reforms it needs to snuff out its economic crisis and reassure jittery markets. In New York, the Dow Jones index plunged 200 points on fears of Italian election gridlock.
While Italy's postwar history has largely been one of revolving-door governments, it has never had a hung parliament. Experts said that's likely to change.
“This has never happened before,” said James Walston, a political science professor at American University of Rome. He predicted such a swirl of political chaos that new elections might need to be called as soon as this spring, when the new legislature chooses a president who can be tapped to dissolve Parliament.
The Italian election has been one of the most fluid in the past two decades as a result of the emergence of Grillo's Five Star Movement, which developed against a backdrop of harsh austerity measures imposed by technocrat Premier Mario Monti, who has fared miserably in the elections.
Many eligible voters didn't cast ballots, and a low turnout is generally seen as penalizing established parties. The turnout, at less than 75 percent, was the lowest in national elections since the republic was formed after World War II.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indian court upholds anti-gay law
- India’s governing party trounced in state elections
- Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year
- U.N. approves surge to fight al-Shabab
- Hagel says untapped oil, gas deposits will likely stir conflict in the Arctic
- Egypt strikes a perilous repose
- American teacher shot dead in Benghazi
- Suspected attack leader still ‘free’
- mexico Carjackers likely to die …
- Panel to advise Pope Francis on sex abuse
- North Korea releases American captive