Italy Deadlocked After Crucial Elections

Chaos looms after no clear winner emerges

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2013 12:39 AM CST

(Newser) – One of the most closely watched Italian elections of recent years has delivered a suitably dramatic result. Pier Luigi Bersani's center-left bloc has narrowly beaten Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing coalition to win control of the lower house, but failed to win a majority in the Senate—leaving Italy likely to face a hung parliament for the first time in its history, Reuters reports. Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement captured around a quarter of the vote, a stunning result that makes it the single largest party in the lower house.

Control of both houses is needed to form a stable government and although Bersani's coalition won the most seats in the Senate, it looks as if it will be unable to pass laws without the consent of Grillo's anti-EU, anti-austerity movement, der Spiegel reports. A Berlusconi-Grillo alliance is seen as highly unlikely. "Dialogue with Berlusconi? It is very difficult to imagine that Berlusconi would propose useful ideas," a 5-Star Movement candidate tells the AP. "It never happened until now, but miracles happen." Predictions of political chaos in the EU's third-largest economy led to steep drops in markets worldwide.

Pier Luigi Bersani, right, leader of the Democratic Party, casts his vote with his wife Daniela, in Piacenza, Italy.
Pier Luigi Bersani, right, leader of the Democratic Party, casts his vote with his wife Daniela, in Piacenza, Italy.   (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Italian comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, delivers his speech during a final rally in Rome.
Italian comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, delivers his speech during a final rally in Rome.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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