EU Establishment Reels As Populist Parties Dominate Italian Elections

EU gives Italy a warning over fragile economy

Claudio Borghi, the League's economic adviser, spoke of a historic result and a turning-point because from today the League has become a national party and the center-right will be led by Matteo Salvini.

The centre-right coalition now dominating includes a smaller far-right party, with 33% to 36% percent of the vote, compared with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement's 29.5% to 32.5%.

A rival pair of populist and stridently anti-European Union political forces surged in Italy's parliamentary election at the expense of the country's traditional political powers, but neither gained enough support to govern alone, preliminary results showed today.

The result means that the centre-right coalition gets the first chance to form a government but it will need support from other parties to do so.

Earlier on Monday, Asian markets fell again as the fallout from Trump's proposed steel and aluminium tariffs fanned fears of a global trade conflict. As La Stampa splashed on its front page today: "Di Maio wins, Italy ungovernable".

The results leave the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League party in the driving seat as the country looks to cobble together a government with a working majority.

By contrast, Salvini and Berlusconi - heading for 18 percent and 14 percent respectively - appeared to have dominated the wealthier north, with the center-left squeezed into a narrow stretch of central Italy.

The League surpassed its coalition partner, the establishment Forza Italia party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Further, they were led by leaders considered old or failed, like former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Renzi, while the more right-populist parties of Five Star and the League were led by younger, more vivid and aggressive personalities.

Alessandro Di Battista of the Five Star Movement, said: "Everyone is going to have to come and speak to us".

Andrea Marcucci, one of the ravaged Democratic Party's (PD) lawmakers, said: "The populists have won and the Democratic Party has lost".

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In L'Espresso weekly's online edition Marco Damilano wrote: "On the night of March 4, the winners are (Five Star Movement leader Luigi) Di Maio and Salvini".

The 5-Stars had a remarkably strong showing in the south, which has always been a stronghold of the centre-right and Forza Italia.

Italy has been hit by a historic political quake.

The Democratic Party campaigned on economic issues.

The results will not be final until Monday evening, but exit polls point to a remarkable shift in Italian politics away from conventional parties to anti-establishment groups looking to shake up business as usual.

The League are no better, perhaps even worse because they are a more known far-right party, who call for deportation of many non-Italians and have even been known to praise Benito Mussolini's; leadership of Italy during the Fascist era.

The poll also showed the PD party had around 21.3 percent of the vote.

The Five Star Movement was formed less than nine years ago by comedian Beppe Grillo.

The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry says it is "of great importance for the German economy whether Italy can form a stable government and continue following the path of reform it has set out on". The process, brokered by Italian president Sergio Mattarella, might take weeks.

"No, no, no", Salvini said when asked about the possibility of governing with the 5-Stars. The gradual move toward pro-market policies in the euro zone will enable the region to better deal with the fallout from the expected departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union next March. The other big victor from a ballot that will shake the rest of Europe was the hard right, populist Northern League, riding a wave of alarm in Italy over the arrival in recent years of hundreds of thousands of migrants.

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