May 24, 2013
Italy's center left to win lower house, Senate deadlocked
Italy's center-left coalition will win a majority in the lower house of parliament but the upper house will be deadlocked, the Interior Ministry said after almost all votes were counted.
After 99.9 percent of the polling booths had been tallied, the center-left led the center-right by about 125,000 votes in the lower house, handing it a sizeable majority thanks to a generous winner's bonus.
But the Senate was a different story. The center left was sure to win more seats than the center right in the upper house, but fell well short of a majority, even in coalition with outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti's help.
Since both houses are needed to pass laws, the center left would need the help of comic Beppe Grillo's 5-Star Movement or Silvio Berlusconi's center right to pass laws, currently an unlikely prospect. If no agreement can be reached, a new vote would have to be called.
A huge protest vote by Italians enraged by economic hardship and political corruption left the euro zone's third-largest economy facing a dangerous vacuum today after an election in which no group won enough votes to form a government.
The result, in which anti-euro parties took more than 50 percent of the vote and a novice populist movement scored a stunning success, rocked global markets with fears of a new euro zone crisis.
With more than 99 percent of returns in from polling stations, results showed the centre-left had taken a slim victory of around 130,000 votes in the lower house of parliament, enough to give it comfortable control thanks to a big winner's bonus.
But no party or likely coalition won enough seats to form a majority in the upper house, creating a deadlocked parliament - the opposite of the stable result that Italy desperately needs to tackle a deep recession, rising unemployment and a massive public debt.