Tuesday

14th Aug 2018

Italy votes to become more eurosceptic

  • Five Star Movement rally in 2015. The party was the big winner in Sunday's elections (Photo: Revol Web)

Europe woke up to a new period of uncertainty on Monday, as Italian voters produced a new parliament with no clear majority and rewarded parties that criticised the establishment.

Preliminary results on Monday morning (5 March) showed the eurosceptic Five Star Movement emerge as the largest single party, with 31 percent of the votes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Matteo Salvini, here in the European Parliament, wants Italy to leave the eurozone (Photo: European Parliament)

The centre-right coalition of convicted tax fraudster and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi won 37 percent.

The ruling centre-left bloc of another former prime minister, Matteo Renzi, received almost 24 percent.

It will take until later on Monday before the composition of the parliament is truly clear.

But it is likely that Italy will have a hung parliament with no clear majority, leaving a difficult task to Italian president Sergio Mattarella to lead coalition talks.

What this means for European integration is also unclear, but it is possible that Italy's government will become less inclined to support the grand projects recently floated – just as Germany's centre-left Social Democrats gave a new grand coalition the go-ahead on Sunday.

In any case, the results showed that many Italians were fed up with the political mainstream. The Five Star Movement grew from some 25 percent to 31 percent of the votes.

The party started as a protest group set up by ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, and has in the past called for a referendum on eurozone membership.

While the centre-right bloc of four parties emerged as the largest coalition, Berlusconi's Forza Italia received around 13 percent.

The eurosceptic, anti-immigration, far-right Lega, formerly Lega Nord, received some 18 percent.

The party is led by MEP Matteo Salvini, who in the past has called the introduction of the euro an "error" and wants a deep reform of the EU.

In the European Parliament, the party has formed an alliance with the French anti-EU National Front. Following the vote, the president of that party, Marine le Pen, congratulated Salvini, and said that the European Union was about to have "a bad night".

The 81-year-old Berlusconi meanwhile was interrupted at the ballot box by a topless protester of the Femen movement, who had 'your time has run out' painted on her body.

The ruling Democratic Party has already acknowledged defeat.

"This is a very clear defeat for us," said Maurizio Martina, outgoing agriculture minister.

"We are expecting a result below our expectations... This is very clearly a negative result for us," he said.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

Berlusconi in Brussels on pre-election charm offensive

Berlusconi reassured EPP leaders about the reliability of his centre-right coalition with the eurosceptic Northern League against the rise of the populist Five Star movement, ahead of Italian political elections in March.

EU: 'Keep Calm', as Italy struggles to form government

Both the leaders of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League party claim the position of Italian prime minister, amid renewed eurosceptics remarks while Europe is waiting for a stable government.

News in Brief

  1. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  2. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions
  3. Masked youths set dozens of cars alight in Sweden
  4. Spain and Italy refuse new Aquarius-rescued migrants
  5. Bayer shares plunges after glyphosate cancer trial
  6. Merkel announces surprise visit by Putin
  7. Hungary to ban university gender study courses
  8. Support for Swedish Greens up over climate concerns

EUobserved

How radical is Italy's Savona really?

Italy is in a political crisis because president Sergio Mattarella has rejected Paolo Savona as a cabinet member, for his views on the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  2. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  3. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia
  4. 14 lobbyist meetings with Oettinger and Canete went unminuted
  5. UK poll suggests Brits would now vote Remain
  6. Some EU states face delays in 5G preparation
  7. Nordic and Baltic farmers urgently need EU support
  8. Migrant death rate spikes despite EU 'safety' priority

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us