Italy election..results point to impasse
With most results in from Italy’s election, the houses of parliament appear split between left and right, causing new anxiety in the eurozone.
Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left bloc is set for a narrow win in the lower house but Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right may take control of the Senate.
A protest movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo surged into third place, attracting a quarter of the vote.
The election comes amid a deep recession and tough austerity measures.
The vote marks a return to full-blown democracy for Italians after the technocratic government of Mario Monti whose attempts to reduce spending caused widespread public resentment.
Control of both the lower and upper houses of parliament is needed in order to govern.
Milan’s stock market soared nearly 4% when exit polls suggested a clear Bersani victory – butlost nearly all of its gains when projections began to show Mr Berlusconi winning a sizeable vote. Italy’s 10-year borrowing cost fell but then rose again to close slightly higher at 4.49%.
“It is clear to everyone that a very delicate situation is emerging for the country,” Mr Bersani said as the last of the votes were being counted.
It was market pressure, with a borrowing cost of well over 6%, that forced Mr Berlusconi to resign as prime minister in late 2011.
Correspondents say Italy’s EU partners and the financial markets want to see a stable outcome to the election, with a commitment to reform and debt-reduction.
The BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, says Brussels and Berlin would like to see Mr Bersani form a governing coalition with Mr Monti.
They fear that an uncertain outcome could lead to Greek-style paralysis in the eurozone’s third largest economy, he says.
The deputy head of Mr Bersani’s Democratic Party sought to downplay speculation about a repeat election after comments from another party official.
Italy’s stunned political parties searched for a way forward on Tuesday after an inconclusive election gave none of them a parliamentary majority and threatened prolonged instability and a renewal of the European financial crisis.
The results, notably the dramatic surge of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo, left the center-left bloc with a majority in the lower house but without the numbers to control the upper chamber, the Senate.
Financial markets fell sharply at the prospect of a stalemate that reawakened memories of the crisis that pushed Italy’s borrowing costs toward unsustainably high levels and brought the euro zone to the brink of collapse in 2011.
“The winner is: Ingovernability,” ran the headline in Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, reflecting the deadlock the country will have to confront in the next few weeks as sworn enemies are forced to work together to form a government.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Tuesday that policy choices of the next Italian government would be crucial for the country’s creditworthiness, underlining the need for a coalition that can agree on new reforms.
monti despised .and so he should be..the technocrats choice can go find a retirement home to spend the rest of his days in..grillo is the interesting one.. seems like a celebrity candidate and they always worry me..whos behind him?..i think he will be able to play kingmaker so a very important role will now be played by this comic..