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Far-Right Leader Thanks Facebook for Strong Election Results in Italy

08 March 2018

In an interview with newspaper Corriere della Sera published Wednesday, the former prime minister said he will respect a pre-election coalition pact between Salvini's League and his own Forza Italia, under which the leader of the party that won the most seats would be tasked with trying to build a new government.

The coalition of League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia is nearly certain to fall short of an outright majority, according to near-final results. No political party won enough seats in Parliament to claim a majority, meaning that Italy's politicians will be forced to launch negotiations to form a governing coalition.

Preliminary results released by Italy's Interior Ministry showed the centre-right coalition winning about 37 per cent of the parliamentary vote and the populist 5-Star Movement getting about 32pc.

Italy's election result showed a seismic shift in the country's political scene with both the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing Lega party seeing strong gains in the vote Sunday.

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 center-left government. He sought to assure financial markets that his leadership wouldn't be anything to fear, even as he reaffirmed his belief that Italy's membership in the euro common currency was a mistake.

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"So this is something to take into account when looking at the future relations of the new government that will be produced (in Italy) and European institutions", Terzi di Sant'Agata remarked.

Maurizio Martina, a minister in the outgoing government, said this is a very clear and evident defeat for the left.

Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement reached out to leftist parties on Wednesday (Mar 7) in a bid to end the stalemate from a general election, even as a rightwing alliance lobbied for its right to rule.

However, Stephen Gallo, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets in London warns that the Euro's underperformance relating to the Italian political situation is likely to be limited, so Euro-buyers might have to act fast. Germany, the largest European Union economy, is hoping that Italy will be able to form a stable government while France recognized that the migration crisis was a major issue which drove the Italian citizens' to vote for anti-migrant parties such as the League. The party's economics chief Claudio Borghi said their first contact would be with 5-Star.

On Twitter, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, runner-up in last year's French presidential election and a strident European Union critic, celebrated Monday the strong showing of the League party. Still it will fall short of the 316 needed to control a majority.

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Its sharp-suited 31-year-old leader Luigi di Maio said he "felt the responsibility to form a government for Italy" after clinching 32 percent of the vote. The League won 18 percent of votes cast, while Berlusconi's party fell to under 14 percent.

"For the Five Star Movement, this election has been a triumph", di Maio said.

"We can't be surprised that southern regions, where youth unemployment has spiked and traditional parties have failed to resolve the problem, voted massively in favor of a movement that expresses resentment and anger".

In his comments to Reuters, Borghi also ruled out the possibility that the League would break ranks with Berlusconi to join a government with 5-Star.

"Oh yes", said one dejected voter in Rome. One could say that Italy has encountered many such hard elections in the past with hung parliaments and each time they have managed to deliver a government.

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The magnitude of this victory is paralleled only by the uncertainty surrounding this relatively new political formation. If the latest numbers are confirmed, its leader Matteo Salvini will have taken the party from a meagre 4% in the 2013 elections to an astonishing 17.4%.

Far-Right Leader Thanks Facebook for Strong Election Results in Italy