Italian Politics at a Standstill After Election Ends in Stalemate



The Italian election has reignited anxiety across Europe after the left-leaning bloc led by Pier Luigi Bersani took the Chamber of Deputies but failed to take the Senate. With Italian politics at a stalemate European policymakers were quick to call upon Italian officials to honor commitments to reform.

From the BBC:

European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said the EU expected Italy to "honour its commitments" on debt and deficit reduction, and other structural reform.

"We clearly hear the message of concern expressed by Italian citizens," he said at a news conference.

"The Commission has full confidence in Italian democracy and… will work closely with the future government towards the relaunch of growth and job creation in Italy."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, meanwhile, urged Italy to continue its reforms, and called for a government to be formed "as quickly as possible".French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the result "creates problems" but would not undermine the European single currency.

But his Spanish counterpart there was "extreme concern" about the financial consequences.

It is understandable that the markets and politicians are concerned about the situation in Italy, where a political movement started by comedian Beppe Grillo now has 54 seats in the Senate and 108 seats in the House of Deputies, an especially impressive result considering that only three people with a blog staffed his campaign. This so-called "Grillo Five Star Movement" has taken more seats than the centrists of the current prime minister, Mario Monti.

If a government cannot be formed then new elections could be held. The results of this election indicate that while most Italians do not want Monti's policies they are conflicted about what polices are best for the eurozone's third largest economy. Whether a government can be formed will depend on how successful Bersani is in forming a coalition that can take the Senate, which he cannot do even with the support of Mario Monti's bloc.  

Illustration of the results so far from the BBC below:

Credit: BBC