Italy: elections fraught with uncertainty
The campaign will be remembered for escapades by Berlusconi, who questions the wisdom of Italy’s current roles in the European Union and the Eurozone, for the emergence of the Five Star populist movement of comedian Beppe Grillo, who boasts he may reap up to 18% of the vote, and for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, whose departure overshadowed and upstaged much of the campaign rhetoric.
According to some estimates, some 30% of the voters remain undecided, which may leave all forecasts overturned.
Professor Pietro Grilli di Cortona of Roma Tre University points out that the EU pins hopes of the Italian elections:
"Italy is no Greece. It is a much bigger economy and a founding member of the European Union. A crisis in Italy would trigger a domino effect involving the entire Eurozone and the entire EU. Accordingly, the European Union would like its Italy crisis manager Mario Monti to come on top."
President of EURISPES research institute Dr Gian Maria Fara does not expect the elections to bring stability to Italy:
"In the very likely event of no party winning a workable parliamentary majority, Italy will be left with a shaky coalition incapable of implementing overdue reforms. As soon as Parliament elects the next President, fresh elections are likely to be called. The upcoming elections will then be remembered as a transient episode."