The Five Star Movement was the best-performing party, while Lega outdid its center-right coalition partner Forza Italia, which is Berlusconi's party. The results have led to a political imbroglio because it's impossible for any single party to rule, meaning that the complex process of coalition-forming will inevitably commence. This is made all the more difficult by the Five Star Movement's pre-election promise not to team up with anyone, though the group might be much more flexible now that they're officially Italy's most popular.
The EU-wide implications of what just happened could be profound because one of the bloc's largest countries and economies has just convincingly proven its preference for EuroRealist parties who hold a critical view towards Brussels. It was already problematic for the EU that Poland's ruling "Law and Justice Party" has been trying to reform the bloc from within alongside Hungary, but now there's a chance that a Western European country might join in their efforts, though only if they manage to assemble a functional governing coalition first, something that's always been difficult for the Italians to do. While there was talk that Berlusconi might play the role of "kingmaker" or "grey cardinal", his party lost out to its coalition partners Lega, thereby potentially upending that presumably stabilizing dynamic that some observers were hoping for.
The exact composition of any future coalition remains to be seen, and new elections could also be called in a desperate and likely unsuccessful attempt to end the deadlock, but it's still possible to vaguely predict the contours of Italy's future policy. The EuroRealists were swept into office on a wave of public indignation due to the Migrant and Economic Crises that have been hammering Italy over the past few years. Voters decisively reacted to that when they opted for the Five Star Movement and Lega, though half of the country still didn't back them, meaning that Italy might only slightly move to the right and that the Mainstream Media's hype about an "extreme" pivot were nothing more than ungrounded fear mongering meant to influence the vote ahead of time.
To discuss this, Andrew is joined by Italian political commentator, Sergio Borg.
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