The Italian parliament has been left hung as there was no outright winner in the early seat projections. This will throw the already wayward country into further turmoil, prolonging coalition negotiations and political instability. However, Italy has undergone a political revolution with half of the Italian voters ditching the centre by voting for populist candidates such as the xenophobic Lega party thatdemands migrants expelled out of the country, and Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), which is an anti-establishment party that intends to change the Italian political system.
Based on early projections, M56 will be the largest single party that captured a 32 percent of the vote. However, the right-wing alliance of Silvio Berlusconi secured a 36 percent share of the vote, which is short of the 316 seats in the lower house needed to govern. According to PD lawmaker Andrea Marcucci, voters are very clear about their decision to favour the populists and not the Democratic Party (PD).
According to many political insiders, if the Lega and M5S formed the government, there would be a likely political revolution. However, as the voters have spoken, it is still not very clear if the political system will adapt to the upheaval or just absorb it. According to WolfangoPiccoli of the risk analysis firm Teneo Intelligence, President Mattarella is not obligated to hand a mandate to the biggest party. Instead, he may wish upon the parties to form a coalition that has enough seats to rule. According to many ‘establishment’ politicians, coalition politics may as well restrict populist politicians to carry out their promises of mass migrant expulsions, benefit increases and tax cuts.
While the negotiations will be overseen by Mattarella, Gentiloni will continue to be the caretaker prime minister. He might also get picked by Mattarella as the subsequent head of a ‘grand coalition.’Adding to the decision-related difficulties of Mattarella, many coalition combinations are possible. However, these combinations would be extremely odd: Lega and M5S for instance. Also, coalition negotiations might only cause party breakaways and schisms. The skilled Berlusconi may try to form an alliance by attracting defectors from other parties. Matteo Salvini, Lega leader, is already suspicious that Berlusconi may ditch him and make a government with the PD.
Gentiloni, who was handed over the prime minister’s job in 2016, has earned the trust and praise of many European leaders including the former president, Giorgio Napolitano.According to a survey by the Pew Research Centre, more than three quarters of Italians think that politicians do not care about what a common man thinks.
Italy’s political gridlock will ensure that the parties stick by their promises, which will come as a relief to Italians and their neighbours. However, due to the absorbing incomplete election results, Italy’s main stock exchange crashed. The European Union is also worried that the new government will rule like euro-skeptics, and it will challenge the budget restrictions posed by the EU. Any government that is likely to emerge will take tougher actions against migrants from Africa and other asylum seekers.
According to American and European populists, the European Union will be further disturbed by the weakening of the centre in Italian politics. According to Steve Bannon, Donal Trump’s former chief strategist, the electoral performances by the Lega and M5S will prove to be major stages in the expanding populist movement across Europe and America.