Observers around the world are concerned that political gridlock may result from February’s national election in Italy after an inconclusive election gave none of Italy’s political parties a parliamentary majority. Experts believe the election results could produce prolonged instability and a resurgence of the financial crisis that has enveloped much of Europe for the past few years.
Voters went to the polls to elect a new parliament and prime minister, who together must deal with the euro crisis, political fragmentation, conflicts about immigration, and entrenched organized crime and corruption.
The election results were perceived by many as a rejection of the austerity policies of Prime Minister Mario Monti, who had the backing of international leaders, ranging from U.S. President Barack Obama to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The outcome of the election left many stunned, particularly over the surge of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comedian-turned-blogger Beppe Grillo, the center-left bloc which ended up with a majority in the lower house but without enough members to control the upper chamber. Grillo, whose movement won the most votes of any party, predicted that the next government will last no more than six months.
As the election outcome became apparent, financial markets fell sharply at the prospect of what Reuters reported as a political stalemate “that reawakened memories of the crisis that pushed Italy’s borrowing costs toward unsustainably high levels and brought the euro zone to the brink of collapse in 2011.”
“The winner is: Ingovernability,” blared the headline in the Rome newspaper, Il Messaggero, reflecting the impasse that Italy will have to confront as bitter political rivals are forced to work together to form a government.
A reception will follow in the Faculty Club, Hamlin Hall.