Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018
ROME

Italian election produces stalemate

English
© ANSA

Rome, February 26 - Italy's general election
produced a stalemate, with Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left
alliance failing to win a working majority in parliament and
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre right saying the vote
should be declared "too close to call".
Bersani's alliance looked set to come first in the contests
for the both the Senate and the Lower House, with almost all the
votes counted early on Tuesday, although the difference with
respect to the centre right was less than 1% in both cases.
The centre-left was on course to win outright control of
the House, thanks to the allocation of bonus seats that goes to
the winning alliance.
But neither of the two biggest coalitions was close to the
158 seats needed in the Senate to have a working majority.
"The data released by the interior ministry, as Minister
(Anna Maria) Cancellieri recalled a few days ago, are only
semi-official figures that are collected with empirical methods
that are inevitably subject to a margin of error," said PdL
Secretary Angelino Alfano.
"Even if this margin is very low, it is certainly higher
than the truly small different between the votes for the top two
coalitions for the House.
"In these situations, as happens in the United States, the
authority tasked with releasing the semi-official data cannot
fail to declare 'too close to call', that it that it is
impossible to declare a winner given the tiny difference of
votes in percentage and absolute terms".
Although Berlusconi may not have enough seats to form an
Italian government for the fourth time, he will see the result
as good, as his coalition was trailing by double figures in the
polls at the start of the campaign.
The centre left had 29.55% of the vote for the House, with
ballot papers from less than 100 of the 60,431 polling stations
yet to be counted counted, the interior ministry said.
Berlusconi's coalition had 29.18%.
The centre left, which had led in the opinion polls
throughout the campaign, was left in a state of shock by the
inconclusive result.
It is harder to land a majority in the Senate as bonus
seats for the winning alliance are handed out on a regional
basis, unlike in the Lower House, where the calculations are
done on a national basis.
Furthermore, the make-up of the Senate depends on the
outcome of individual separate votes in Italy's regions, so it
is possible for a coalition to win the most seats in it even if
it loses the popular vote, if it carries some of the bigger
regions, such as Lombardy - a key battleground.
But Enrico Letta, a senior member of the main centre-left
Democratic Party (PD), said that "the hypothesis of another
early election would not be the solution" to the stalemate.
He also suggested that the centre left should be first in
line to form the country's next government.
"The coalition that wins the House has the duty to make the
first proposals to the head of state," he said.
The only real victors of the vote are the M5S, which was
set to claim 25.54% of the votes for the House, making it the
biggest individual party.
Grillo, whose Internet-based movement had tapped into
public disenchantment with the established parties caused in
part by a series of corruption scandals, said via Twitter that
"honesty will become fashionable" now.
Italian Nobel laureate for literature Dario Fo said the
result was an "extraordinary victory" for young people.
"Cleaning up (politics) is winning, and so are young
people," added Fo, who spoke during a blogcast hosted on
Grillo's website.
Monti, who took the helm of an emergency technocrat
government after Berlusconi was forced to resign in November
2011 because Italy's debt crisis was threatening to spiral out
of control, registered only 10.56% of the vote in the House.
He had 9.13% in the Senate, only just above the 8%-entry
threshold.
Nevertheless, he said he was happy.
"Some people hypothesized a result that was slightly
better, but I am very satisfied," said former Eurepean
commissioner, who stressed that his Civic Choice movement was
established less than two months ago.
He added that his party's share of the vote was all the
more important as the election was set to produce an
inconclusive result.
"Given the current picture, I think we have acquired even
more importance, if that's possible," said Monti.
Voter turnout was down roughly 6% with respect to the last
elections in 2008. Around 75.2% of eligible voters cast a ballot
in Senate elections, down from 80.77%, while 75.1% cast votes
for the House, down from 80.65%.
A greater number of Italians are eligible to vote for the
House, where the minimum age limit is 18, compared to 25 for the
Senate.
Analysts had long suspected a smaller showing at this
year's elections citing high voter disaffection with Italian
politics following scandals and economic woes - Italy has been
in recession since 2011.
Pundits have also pointed to bad weather as a factor.

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