Italy was on Monday night staring at a period of prolonged political instability following a general election in which voters delivered a resounding rebuff to austerity policies with little hope of any party mustering a governing majority.None of this would matter if whoever gets elected would not be part of our real government as well.
The upstart anti-establishment Five Star Movement, founded only three years ago by the comedian-blogger Beppe Grillo, was on course to stage the biggest shock by garnering the largest number of votes of any single party. With all but 2 per cent of polling stations reporting, the grassroots movement was leading on 25.5 per cent, a few thousand votes ahead of the centre-left Democrat party.
But the nation was torn three ways between Mr Grillo and his band of political novices, Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left coalition and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance, raising the prospect of a second election within months.
Going on as we speak or as I write this. The Grauniad is updating, should anyone be interested enough to care. Looks like Berlusconi might be back. Personally, I would prefer a real comedian like Grillo.
UPDATE: Der Spiegel thinks that the Centre Left under Pier Luigi Bersani may have won a majority in the Lower House but not in the Senate. A gridlock, in other words, like most streets in Rome.