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Hung parliament on cards in Italy elections

06 March 2018

More than 46 million Italians were eligible to vote from 7am to 11pm, including Italians overseas who already posted ballots.

Despite overseeing a modest economic recovery, the ruling centre-left coalition trailed a distant third on 22%, hit by widespread anger over persistent poverty, high unemployment and an influx of more than 600,000 migrants over the past four years. "There will be queues as well this evening".

While the PD party of former premier Matteo Renzi appeared to be placed second with almost 19 percent of the vote, the poor showing compared with previous elections appeared to signal the end for Renzi himself. Italians are voting under a new law, Rosatellum bis, a parallel voting system, which acts as a mixed system.

She said the central role of Five Star would "cast a shadow on the plans of France's president Emmanuel Macron for further eurozone integration".

Berlusconi himself is unable to become prime minister because a tax fraud conviction bars him from holding public office until next year. Earlier today, we heard from Maio and Salvini neither of which was willing to concede as they felt equally capable of leading the nation. "Democratic Party knocked out, bye to Renzi".

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Observers noted how the results confirmed the defeat of the two main political forces that have dominated the Italian political landscape for decades - Forza Italia and the Democratic Left. But Di Maio said his party now "feels the responsibility to form a government".

Italy's election has returned a hung parliament as voters backed right-wing and populist parties, according to exit polls.

In a stinging defeat for Berlusconi, the anti-immigrant League party headed by Matteo Salvini emerged as the strongest movement within the coalition, taking nearly 18 percent of the vote compared to Berlusconi's 14 percent.

Afterwards, Forza Italia said it was open to welcoming in other parties to create a center-right government, but it was not clear where such support might come from, with the bloc seen some 49 seats short of a majority in the 630-seat lower house.

The poll also showed the PD party had around 21.3 percent of the vote.

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Disillusionment had already made itself felt in a constitutional referendum in 2016 in which southern Italy voted massively against both the proposed reform and then prime minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left government.

Populist parties have made gains in Italy's parliamentary elections, though there was no clear victor, initial reports suggested.

League leader Matteo Salvini, 45, has positioned himself as "a proud populist".

One possibility is for Berlusconi and the PD to form a centrist grand coalition; another - which could spook Italy's European Union partners and financial markets - is a M5S-led administration that potentially could include Berlusconi's far-right party ally, the League. We have great results across the country ... "Centuries of history are at risk of disappearing if Islamisation prevails".

The far-right League, which ran a virulently anti-immigrant, fear-mongering campaign with overtly racist slogans, scored across northern Italy.

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Hung parliament on cards in Italy elections