Monday, 25 March, 2019


Italy's League, 5-Star vie for power

Italy's League, 5-Star vie for power Italy's League, 5-Star vie for power
Bennie Garza | 06 March, 2018, 17:52

Matteo Renzi has quit as leader of the Democratic Party after suffering huge losses in yesterday's Italian election.

Populist and anti-EU parties have taken a lead in Sunday's parliamentary elections in Italy as the country appears set to head towards a hung parliament, according to preliminary results released Monday.

The League leader's suggestion that the election had produced a clear path to putting him in the premier's office was challenged by the rival 5-Stars, the highest vote-getter of any single party.

Le Pen, the runnerup in last year's French presidential election and a loud critic of the European Union, tweeted Monday: "The spectacular advance and top showing of the League coalition led by our ally and friend Matteo Salvini is a new stage in the awakening of the people!" "The euro was, is and remains a mistake", he said, adding, however, that a referendum over the continued participation of the euro zone's third-largest economy in the single currency was "unthinkable".

With the vote count nearly complete, none of the three main factions had enough seats to govern alone. It now trails the center-right bloc of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the Euroskeptic Lega Nord as well as the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

The role reversal marks a bitter personal defeat for the billionaire media magnate and his party, which took more moderate positions on the euro and immigration while the far-right League campaigned on a fiercely anti-migrant ticket. He also noted that during the campaign both Salvini and Di Maio had branded Democratic lawmakers as Mafiosi and corrupt. But whether these euroskeptics can put aside their distrust and rivalries to rule together was the big question Monday as the nation embarked on a new era following a quarter-century of largely predictable coalition-formula politics.

Earlier in the day, the Italian news agency Ansa said that the party's head had made a decision to resign after the PD suffered significant losses in the country's general election. Swift new elections to try to break the deadlock are another plausible scenario. President Sergio Mattarella is not expected to open formal coalition talks until early April, Reuters reported.

During two months of election campaigning, party leaders repeatedly ruled out any post-election tie-ups.

"The vote has radically transformed Italy's political landscape and its repercussions will be long-lasting", Piccoli, the co-founder of the Teneo Intelligence consultancy, said. Berlusconi's Forza Italia captured only 14 percent of the vote, compared to 18 percent for coalition partner Salvini's League, which achieved virtual dominance in Italy's prosperous northern regions, where Berlusconi made much of his huge wealth.

"We're open to talk to all the political forces", 31-year-old Luigi Di Maio said in a statement.

"Ungovernable Italy", read the headline in La Stampa daily. Renzi's spokesman, however, said he can't confirm it. But as the first results were trickling in early Monday, 5-Stars leaders started sending another message, saying they expected Italy's parties will have to come to them to work out a deal for government.

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