Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

Italy in limbo as Berlusconi refuses to concede elections

With prime minister Silvio Berlusconi refusing to concede defeat in the Italian elections, one of the EU's biggest member states could be left in a state of political limbo for weeks.

Mr Berlusconi, whose centre-right coalition narrowly lost the weekend's elections, is insisting that some 40,000 ballot papers be re-checked.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The election result has to change because there was widespread fraud," said Mr Berlusconi who is arguing that there are problems particularly with votes from Italians living abroad.

"Did you think you were about to be free of me?" he went on to ask, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Romano Prodi, the centre-left victor according to official counts, has admitted that he might not take power until May.

"The constitutional decision is that probably it will be the new president who will decide to give me the responsibility to govern. So we would have to wait until the second half of May," said Mr Prodi.

The situation has been complicated by the fact that Italy's president, whose duty it is to swear in the new prime minister, is finishing office on 18 May and wants his successor to do the swearing in, reports Italian agency ANSA,

The new president is to be elected by the new parliament, which will convene towards the end of April and make its choice around mid-May.

However, this would mean that the swearing in of the next government would rest on parliament's ability to agree on a presidential candidate.

Italian media point out that the already complicated voting system, which led to 17 ballots for the current president's predecessor, is likely to be exacerbated by the closely balanced parliament.

Who is congratulating and who is waiting?

Brussels and France have been the first to congratulate Mr Prodi since the results were announced on Tuesday, but the US and the UK have remained silent.

French president Jacques Chirac sent his "warm and friendly congratulations" to Mr Prodi, Chirac's office said in a statement.

The president is convinced that "Italy and France would further strengthen their relationship and cooperation in the service of Europe," it continues.

The European Commission has also congratulated Mr Prodi but the UK's Tony Blair, a strong ally of Mr Berlusconi and who holidayed in his villa in Sardinia, has not said anything, notes the Times.

Neither has Washington, which received staunch support from Mr Berlusconi for its decision to invade Iraq. Mr Prodi was against the war.

Analysis

Lukashenka: End of an era?

The political spring in Belarus ended just as the actual season began, but greater changes loom after 23 years of dictatorship.

Poutine s’immisce dans l'élection française

Poutine a traité la leader anti-UE Marine Le Pen, comme si elle avait déjà remporté la présidentielle. "J'ai mon propre point de vue, qui coïncide avec celui de la Russie", a-t-elle affirmé.

Putin mischt sich in französische Wahlen ein

Putin behandelt die französische Anti-EU Präsidentschaftskandidatin Le Pen, als ob sie die Wahlen bereits gewonnen habe. Le Pen: "Meine Sichtweise… ist identisch zur russischen."

Investigation

How the Italian mafia found a Dutch home

One of the biggest mafia trials in Europe in recent years is about to end. Members of the Crupi clan are accused of smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from South America to Italy, using the Netherlands as their main hub.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People