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    The Results Are In: Center-Right Coalition Projected to Dominate in Italy

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    ROME (Sputnik) – The center-right coalition is leading in Italy’s general election, winning 37.42 percent of votes in the upper chamber of the parliament – the Senate – after 65 percent of ballots were counted, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday.

    The center-right coalition consists of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, right-wing Matteo Salvini's Lega (formerly Lega Nord), right-wing Brothers of Italy, and the small party Us with Italy.

    According to the ministry’s data, Lega won 18.3 percent, while Forza Italia received 14.2 percent.

    Meanwhile, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) has won 30.97 percent of votes in the upper house – the best result achieved by a separate party so far.

    The left-center coalition, led by the ruling Democratic Party (PD), has secured 23.85 percent of votes, according to the ministry.

    The Interior Ministry has also counted 45 percent of ballots in the lower chamber – the Chamber of Deputies. According to the preliminary results, the center-right coalition has secured 36.94 percent of votes (Lega – 18.8 percent, Forza Italia – 13.39 percent), the M5S has won 30.65 percent of votes, while the left-center coalition has received 24.39 percent (PD – 19.97 percent).

    Meanwhile, Italy's right-wing anti-immigrant Lega party (formerly Lega Nord), run by Matteo Salvini, is satisfied with the general election results' projections, Giancarlo Giorgetti, vice-secretary of Lega, told reporters on Monday.

    "This is a great satisfaction for Lega and for Salvini. These are historic results. We started at 4 percent. Now we are projected to get 16-17 percent, maybe more. Certainly, we will talk to our allies now. We already have ideas what to do, and we look into future calmly," he said.

    According to the opinion polls shown by the Rainews 24 broadcaster, Lega is projected to get 12.5 — 15.5 percent in the Chamber of Deputies, and 13 —16 percent in the Senate. These numbers are exactly the same as the projections for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia for both chambers.

    The center-right coalition with Forza Italia and Lega is projected to get an edge over the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) both in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, according to the polls.

    Lorenzo Fontana, vice-secretary of Lega said that the strong performance of the party at the general elections sends a clear signal to Europe.

    "We see it as a clear signal to Europe, which has not reckoned with the Italian people until now. Europe was thinking more of figures and deficits, but did not do anything for the good of the Italian people. This is a response to those, who thought that Italian people may be kept captive. For us it's just the beginning, but it's a clear signal to Europe," Fontana said on Monday.

    He also pointed out that Lega prioritized the needs of people over the needs of economy.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary of the ruling Italian Democratic Party Maurizio Martina admitted on Monday the party’s defeat in the general elections.

    “We, like everybody, are closely following the results of the elections. It is obviously that we are speaking about a visible, clear and obvious defeat,” Martina said.

    Nevertheless, none of the contenders is getting enough majority to form the government alone. The race is close and a hung parliament is one of the possible scenarios.

    The turnout at the Italian general elections amounts to 73.03 percent as of 11 p.m. local time (22:00 GMT) when polling stations were closed, the country's Interior Ministry said.

    The Sunday vote is the first test of a new voting system in Italy — a mixture between first-past-the-post and proportional representation, and is believed to be one of the most unpredictable the country has ever had.

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