Initial results from the poll indicate that none of Italy’s three main groups will be able to rule alone. This means that there is very little prospect of a return to mainstream, moderate government, Reuters reports.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition, Forza Italia (Go Italy) is tipped to win the most seats the most seats in the lower house of Parliament. If things continue as is, Forza Italia could around 248 to 268 seats, which is significantly lower than 316 seats needed for an outright majority, BBC reports.
The anti-system Five Star Movement (M5S) is currently in second behind Forza Italia. The anti-system M5S saw its support explode during the latest polls, pushing it to become the largest single party in Italy. It was founded in 2009 by popular comedian and blogger, Beppe Grillo, and web strategist Gianroberto Casaleggio.
Anger over growing poverty, high unemployment, and mass immigration has seen the ruling centre-left coalition lose significant ground, coming in third.
The full results are not due for hours yet, so initial results are not cast in stone. Italy also has a history of seeing wild swings in results as the count proceeds.
However, if things continue as is, the third-largest economy in the eurozone looks set to be thrown in into political gridlock, leaving the EU with the prospect of dealing with another country to follow the United Kingdom’s example and leave the union.
Forming a new government could take weeks of negotiation and coalition-building, while an alternative is to hold fresh elections in a bid to produce a more decisive result.
Either way, Italian daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano has already forecast that following this election, nothing will be the same again, running with the headline “Everything will change”.