Hung parliament plunges Italy into political crisis
Electoral placards showing Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani (L) and right-wing Silvio Berlusconi are displayed on a wall in Rome on February 26, 2013. AFP Photo
Italy entered a new period of turmoil on Tuesday after one of the most inconclusive elections in its history. With all votes counted, the centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani won the lower house vote by the thinnest of margins (124,000 votes) but fell far short of a majority in the Senate.
It was followed closely by the centre-right bloc of Silvio
Berlusconi, who completed yet another spectacular comeback after lagging
behind the left throughout the campaign.
Complicating matters further, an anti-establishment movement led by popular comedian Beppe Grillo picked up a surprise 25% of the vote, making it the single largest party in the country.
Grillo's 5-Star Movement (M5S) has ruled out forming any alliance in parliament.
Bersani suggested on Tuesday he would try and form a government but without specifying whether he intended to reach out to Berlusconi's centre-right bloc – a prospect unpalatable to many on the left.
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