Danger of political stalemate in Italy
The results of Italy’s weekend general election seem to have guaranteed only a hung parliament, deadlock and instability.
With the election count still ongoing at time of going to press, Italy seemed destined for parliamentary deadlock, with the PDL party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi within a whisker of another remarkable triumph, having polled 29 per cent of the national vote, just 0.7 per cent behind the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
When the stalls opened on this particular race, the PDs were at least 10 points clear of Mr Berlusconi. Worse still for Italians is that, thanks to Italy’s electoral legislation, deadlock seems guaranteed in the Senate, the Upper House, which has the same constitutional weight as the Lower House.
Given the regional attribution of the Senate vote, the PDs are likely to end up with one seat less (113 to 114) than the PDL, despite having up to 3 per cent more of the vote. Parliamentary stalemate, market turbulence and another general election within the year seem likely.
These elections have, however, highlighted one remarkable innovation. The Five-Star protest movement of ex-comedian Beppe Grillo is destined to be the third force in the land, with 25.53 per cent of the vote in the Lower House. Little is known about the movement’s candidates, who were mysteriously chosen online, sometimes by as few as 22 “colleagues”.