Published On: Mon, Mar 5th, 2018

Italian election results LIVE updates: Anti-EU SURGE – Salvini REJECTS Five Star coalition

  • Italy is set for a hung parliament with Centre-right, Centre-left, 5 Star Movement not able to secure a majority – a Grand Coalition is needed
  • Three options: Centre-right with some support from the centre-left, 5 Star Movement with some support from the centre-left or 5 Star Movement and the League
  • Italy election is a triumph of anti-establishment rhetoric – the victory is in the same league as Brexit and Trump from the eurozone’s third largest country.
  • More than half of the voters have backed the Five Star Movement and the League.
  • Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party has had an abysmal election – falling to about 19% of the vote

Determined Italians waited in long queues at polling booths on Sunday to vote in an election that could change history in Europe amid a growing populist movement in the bloc.

Exit polls show former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right party and his far-right allies, Lega Nord, could emerge as the largest bloc in parliament but fall short of a majority.

While the anti-establishment Five Star Movement has emerged as the biggest single party, according to exit polls.

Italy’s national broadcaster showed its first exit polls as: 

  • M5S 29 per cent – 32 per cent 
  • Forza Italia 13 to 16 per cent 
  • Lega 13 to 16 per cent 
  • PD 20.5 to 23.5 per cent

Polling stations closed at 11pm (10pm GMT). 

The vote is being held under a complex new electoral law that could mean the final result will not be clear until late on Monday.

Here is the latest news as brings you live updates on the Italian Election 2018.

Italian election results LIVE updatesAFP GETTY – REUTERS – EPA

Italian election results LIVE updates: Polls CLOSE

Monday, March 5

12.20pm update: UKIP tweeted their response to the Five Star surge earlier this morning

The British anti-EU party wrote: “The election in Italy just adds more weight that the EU project is not working. But we all know what the EU’s response will be, don’t we? ‘More Europe’.”

Italian election: Luigi Di MaioREUTERS

Italian election: Luigi Di Maio says Five Star is a force that represents an entire nation

12.11pm update: Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission’s spokesperson, reacted to the news in Italy

“We understand that the official results will not be announced until later today.

“We have confidence in President Matarella’s abilities to facilitate the formation of a stable government in Italy, and in the meantime Italy has a government led by Gentiloni, with whom we are working closely.”

Di Maio also said investors had no reason to worry.

12pm update: Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio said his party was ready to form a government

Di Maio said his anti-EU party is a political force that represents an entire nation, which leads him “inevitably” to govern Italy.

He went on to say the centre-right coalition or other groups don’t have numbers to govern, but Five Star takes its responsibility seriously and remains open to talks with all political parties.

Di Maio added he was confident the president will know how to guide Italy during the post-election period with sensibility.

“These elections have been a triumph for the 5Star Movement, we are the absolute winners,”  Luigi Di Maio said at party headquarters in Rome.

“We are a political force that represents the whole country. That’s why we feel the responsibility to give Italy a government.

“We are ready to talk with all the other political forces, starting from the election of the two speakers of the chambers.”

Luigi Di MaioREUTERS

Italian election: Luigi Di Maio said Five Star was ready to form a government

11.37am update: The Italian election on March 4th has resulted in a relatively ungovernable country

Carlo Alberto De Casa, Chief Analyst at ActivTrades told the reaction of the financial markets is certainly mitigated by the German vote, with the SPD accepting the new “Grosse Koalition” with Frau Merkel.

He said: “On the gray markets – before the official opening – the euro dollar had risen to 1.2360, then fell to 1.2320 after the very first numbers coming from Italy.

“The recovery of the euro, deriving from the German news, has therefore been reset. The indexes seem to hold, discounting a sort of possible fact nothing on the political level in the immediate future.

“At the moment the most likely scenario is ungovernability. It is legitimate to expect a negative reaction in the event of an alliance of 5-Star and Lega, especially if the issues related to the exit from the euro should resurface.

“If, on the other hand, we could move towards a large coalition based on the figure of Tajani or a similar institutional figure, both the Italian index and the spread on government bonds would be much less affected.

“It is clear that at the moment we should not overlook a scenario of a government with the aim of forming a new electoral law and a new vote in the fall or early 2019.”

11.25am update: MEPs urge Berlin to get out the euro’ amid election uncertainty in Italy

The election results sparked panic in Germany with one of the country’s most senior MEPs urging Berlin to “get out of the euro now” after eurosceptic parties collected up 50 percent of the votes in Italy.

The euro was little changed on Monday morning, despite strong support for eurosceptic movement movements in the Italian Election.

But Italy has long been considered a threat to European stability because of the insecurity of its banks, on which the country’s political disharmony has a substantially bad impact.

German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel told “The majority of Italian Election results are critical toward the EU, even against the euro!

“All politicians promised the moon to the Italian voters. The results will mean even higher debts than those 130 percent of state debt today, further deterioration of competitiveness of Italian industry and more unemployment.

“But Italian president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, will print even more money. In the end, the eurozone will be the ideal transfer mechanism from the north to the south.

“That’s why Germany must get out of the euro now!”

11.12am update: Renzi resigns after a catastrophic election defeat

Matteo Renzi, the head of Italy’s Democratic Party, which suffered significant losses the national election, has decided to resign, the Italian news agency Ansa said on Monday.

A Renzi spokesman said he knew nothing about such a decision.

11am update: Matteo Salvini looks set to oust Silvio Berlusconi as leader of the centre-right coalition

His party have snatched at least 19 percent of the vote so far, overtaking Forza Italia as the top party in the centre-right coalition.

Speaking today, Salvini said the centre-right coalition has won and will govern – but he went on to say that Lega is now the leader of the group.

He added: “I am and will remain proudly populist.”

Salvini also said his party, which won about 18 percent of the vote, would be willing to talk to all parties but indicated it would not take part in a “minestrone” soup coalition, apparently referring to a broad coalition government.

The four-party, centre-right grouping looks set to win about 37 percent of the vote. The League has overtaken former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italy (Go Italy!) party as the largest in the coalition.

Italian election: Matteo SalviniAFP

Italian election: Matteo Salvini could now play kingmaker

Italian election: Matteo RenziAFP

Italian election: Matteo Renzi is rumoured to have resigned

10.56am update: Matteo Salvini rules out referendum on the euro in Italy

The legal leader says the euro was, is and will remain a mistake.

But speaking in a press conference today, he said holding a referendum on remaining in the eurozone was unthinkable.

10.55am update: Murdered woman Pamela Mastropietro starts trending again as results drip in

The election campaign was dominated by immigration reforms after a suspected migrant was arrested in relation to the death of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro in Macerata, Le Marche.

Following the arrest, a self-proclaimed neo-fascist took to streets of Macerata and shot six migrants living in the central Italian town.

Many believed the tragedy could have pushed voters towards anti-immigration parties all saying “enough is enough”.

The dismembered body Miss Mastropietro was found stuffed into two suitcases, in a ditch in the countryside near Macerata on January 31.

A young Nigerian immigrant Innocent Oseghale has been held on suspicion of murder and three others are also said to be under investigation.

Pamela’s mum, Alessandra Verni, said: ”It is inhuman what they did to my daughter, an absurd violence. Pamela’s death could have been avoided.”

Meanwhile the leader of the centre-right League party, Mr Salvini condemned the alleged ‘revenge’ killings of the six migrants, adding that “violence is never the solution” but blamed “out-of-control migration” for “chaos, rage, social clashes”.

10.40am update: Matteo Salvini, La Lega leader, rules out so-called ‘weird alliances’ amid fears he could combine with Five Star Movement

Speaking at a press conference at party headquarters in Milan, he said: “This was an extraordinary victory, which fills us with proud, joy and responsibility.

“Millions of Italians have asked us to join hands with this country and free it from uncertainty.”

Salvini went on to say he had ruled out “weird alliances” with other political forces, adding: “The center-right is the coalition that won and that can govern.”

10.30am update: Picture of Italy becoming clearer

With 74 percent of the vote counted, the centre-right coalition fronted by Silvio Berlusconi is on 37 percent of the vote.

The centre-right coalition remained shy of an absolute majority of seats – but Lega, led by the 44-year-old rightwing nationalist leader Matteo Salvini, looks set to beat Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, earning 18 percent of the vote and becoming the main conservative party in Italy.

The governing Democratic party led by Matteo Renzi suffered a dramatic defeat, falling to 19 percent according to projections.

Italian election: Matteo Renzi resigns REUTERS

Italian election: Matteo Renzi has stood down from the PD

10.22am update: Massive damage to the Euro has been mitigated by the results coming from Germany with the SPD accepting the new “Grosse Koalition” with Angela Merkel

The Euro is down a thin 0.03 percent against the Pound to 1.1201, and down 0.09 percent against the Dollar to 1.2304. The Euro is holding firm but markets have yet to fully absorb the possibility of their least desired result – a 5-Star coalition with the right-wing League.

The impending result of the Italian election has been described as, “an anti-establishment triumph, of the same league as the Brexit or the Trump upsets, in the eurozone’s 3rd largest country” by leading Italian political commentator Ferdinando Giugliano.

Mr Giugliano describes the electoral arithmetic as “ugly” with none of the three big players – the Centre-right, Centre-left, 5 Star Movement – able to secure a majority.

10.13am update: Five Star leader hails historic result

“It’s a beautiful day, despite the rain” Luigi Di Maio said shortly after 10 o’clock as he left his home in Rome.

“It’s a historical result and it was an indescribable emotion”, he added, while getting out the white car that had come to pick him up.

9.48am update: Italian ambassador reveals role EU played in vote

Raffaele Trombetta said the of the public opinion towards the mainstream parties.

But he warned migration was a “big issue” for Italy and the country had called on Brussels over the past two years to help with the issue.

Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Trombetta said: “We have been trying to say for at least for the last two years even more to convince Brussels and above all the other European member states how important or crucial the migration issue was for the Italian people and this has been reflected in the result of the elections.

“We didn’t feel that from some member states there was the support that Italy needed above all because this is a European issue. It’s not an Italian issue.”

9.40am update: French far-right politician Marine Le Pen hailed the anti-EU result in the exit polls

She tweeted: “The spectacular progression and the arrival at the top of Lega’s coalition led by our ally and friend @matteosalvinimi is a new stage of people’s awakening! Congratulations!”

Le Pen later added: “The European Union will have a very bad night…”

9.30am updates: Stirling steadies against Euro

Sterling steadied against the euro and dollar on Monday after falling last week, as political uncertainties in Italy dominated trading and investors awaited clarification from the EU on how it sees future ties with Britain.

The European Union is due to publish guidelines this week, following on from a speech on Friday in which British Prime Minister Theresa May urged the bloc to be flexible in negotiating their future relationship.

The pound traded flat at $1.3806 against the dollar, and down 0.1 percent versus the euro at 89.320 pence per euro .

“Euro sterling pushed up to its highest levels this year last week, edging above 0.8930 with the next resistance at the 0.9020 area,” said Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets.

Italian election ballot boxesGETTY

Italian election: Results are due around 2pm on Monday

Il Tempo's front page - translates as 'what a mess'Il Tempo

Il Tempo’s front page – translates as ‘what a mess’

9.26am update: Regional elections: Centre-right close to 50 per cent in Lombardy

The centre-right is close to 50% and Lega is the first party in the region.

In Lombardy 1, which also includes the capital Milan, the centre-right is ahead with 41% while the centre-left is at 29% and the M5S at 22%; in Lombardy 2 (northern area of the region), the centre-right is at 53.7%, the centre-left at 21.1% and the M5S at 18.8%; in Lombardy 3 (east zone), the centre-right is at 55.1%, the centre-left at 22.2%, M5S at 16.9; in Lombardy 4 (south area), the centre-right is at 48.4%, the centre-left at 23% and M5S at 22.4.

Only in Lombardy 1, the Democratic Party overtakes Lega, while in the other 3 districts, Matteo Salvini’s party is clearly in the lead, taking between 30% and 35% of the votes.

9.16am update: Interior minister Minniti loses his seat to Five Star Movement

Interior minister Marco Minniti of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party has lost his seat to the Five Star Movement. Latest projections give Five Star Movement 231 seats of the 630 seats in the Chamber and 115 of the 315 available seats in the Senate.

9am update: Euro falls amid Italy election uncertainty after Five Star shock exit poll success

The euro fell on Monday, hitting a six-month low versus the yen, after Italian election results pointed to stronger-than-expected showing for euro-sceptic parties, with no major party blocs winning an outright majority.

The euro fell 0.3 percent and was traded at $1.2282, edging towards its seven-week low of $1.21545, which it touched on Thursday.

Although no party won a majority, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement came out as a clear winner, looking set to become the largest single party by a wide margin.

Investors are likely to take fright at any suggestion the 5-Star could form a coalition with the right-wing League.

8.55am update: La Lega hailed their shocking surge, saying: “The revolution of common sense has begun today”

Despite the excellent numbers linked to Lega from the first projections, Matteo Salvini decided not to appear before the press to issue statements.

The League leader os expected to comment at a press conference at 11am on Monday.

But in his place overnight, party deputy secretary Lorenzo Fontana hailed the exit poll predictions.

He said: “I thank all Italian citizens who have given us their trust. We wanted to thank and stress the fact that the line proposed by Matteo Salvini is the right one.

“Lega goes from North to South. It was a choice that has rewarded.

“In addition to this, what we see is a clear sign against that Europe that has mistreated the Italian people until now.

“A Europe that has thought more about relationships, numbers, deficit, and not the well-being of Italian citizens.

“This is a clear sign for all those strong powers that thought they could cage European people. It is a clear answer and for us this is only the beginning.

“The revolution of common sense has begun today.”

La Stampa's front page says Italy ungovernableLa Stampa

La Stampa’s front page says Italy ungovernable

8.46am update: Italy will be “completely cut off” from Europe as the Franco-German engine prepares to relaunch the European project

And today, Internationali “Italy is going to be completely cut off from that game. So my fear is in all this that with the failure of even the attempt at restrictive politics, people are going to get angrier and angrier. I’m not quite sure what this is going to lead to.”

She added: “Already we have a situation in which the country is split on Europe.

“This used to be a fantastically pro-European country and now europhiles are definitely on the big retreat as we’ve seen from these electoral results.”

8:34am update: Analysts confirm M5S now controls the South

M5S down from 31.56% to 31.48% but still the largest party – controls the south – as latest map shows. The Lega (18.2%) is the driving force behind the centre-right. The PD and Lega are doing equally well while Berlusconi performed worse than expected at around 13%

8am update: Maurizio Martina (Vicesecretary of PD) condemned the election as  “a clear and obvious defeat for us”

She said: “For us it is a very clear and obvious defeat. A number below expectations.

The most complete assessments will be given by Renzi tomorrow morning or during the day” concluded Martina, leaving the press room of the national headquarters of the PD.

She went on: “It is clear that we are following, like everyone else, the evolution of the results. For us, it is a very clear and obvious defeat. Very clear.

“It is a number that falls below our expectations. Of course, as I said before, it is a result that is clearly negative for us.

“For any other assessments, we will wait for the next few hours.”

7.46am: The Ministry of the Interior releases its latest projections

Centre-Right – 37.06 percent and 9,113,509 votes

Five Star Movement – 31.88 percent and 7,837,997 votes

Centre-Left – 23.46 percent and 5,768,629 votes

Italian election leaders cast their votesAFP GETTY – EPA – REUTERS

Italian election: Berlusconi, Renzi, Salvini and Di Maio cast their votes

Italian election 2018: Map shows breakdown of votes in ItalyRepublica

Italian election 2018: Map shows breakdown of votes in Italy

7.26am update: Five Star movement deputy says of exit polls projections: “Now everyone will have to come and talk to us”

Alessandro Di Battista said: “If these numbers are confirmed, it will be a triumph for M5S, a remarkable apotheosis, which demonstrates the goodness of the work we have done.

“And above all, it shows another thing, that everyone will have to come and talk to us and this will probably be the first time. They will have to come and talk to us.

“And this, I say to all citizens, is a guarantee of transparency for the Italian people because the other political forces will have to come and talk to us using our methods of transparency, fairness, credibility, based on the proposals and solutions we want for this country.

“And this will happen in the coming days, in the coming weeks. Thank you all.”

Vickiie Oliphant takes over live reporting from Thomas Hunt

6:20am update: Former prime minister Matteo Renzi will hold a press conference at midday.

The centre-left leader Matteo Renzi is expected to resign after projections show a disastrous outing for his movement.

6:15am update: If the current projection holds then “populism” will be victorious.

Anti-establishment parties will have captured about 55 percent of the popular vote, despite the Italian economy expanding 1.5 percent last year, the fastest pace since 2010.

6:08am update: The result “that Europe was afraid of” has come true.

Italian paper La Stampa’s columnist Marcello Sorgi wrote: “The March 4 vote yielded a result that Europe was afraid of and Italy perhaps did not expect on this scale.

“Defeated everywhere else in Europe, populism won here. Either it can govern or it will block the system.”

6:05am update: The results are still being counted but differ slightly from the projections.

Five Star’s support is slipping a bit to about 31 per cent, from a projection of 33 per cent earlier.

Alessandro Di Battista, a leading figure in the Five-Star movement, said: “Everyone is going to have to come talk with us. That will be the first time that happens.”

5:48am update: The Five Star Movement share secrets to the election success.

One party official said: “One of our strengths was the ability to create a dense network on social media.

“We have a lot of different personalities within the movement whose posts have been shared again and again. We were truly able to interact with our supporters.”

5:18am update: Analysts have predicted a period of “instability for Italy”.

Fabio Fois, a European Economist at Barclays Investment Bank, said: ”We expect the formation of a wide and heterogeneous coalition that could include anti-system parties.

“We do not expect such a coalition to deliver meaningful structural reforms, and depending on its composition, we see the risk that previous reforms could be unraveled.

“Over the medium term, we remain of the view that the next legislature will be characterised by political instability that could culminate in government crisis and or snap elections.”

4:39am update: Which party or coalition will win the right to form a government?

Luigi Di Maio, leader of The Five Star Movement (M5S), is expected to demand – as the single party with the most votes – that President Sergio Mattarella hands them the opportunity to form a government first.

Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition has a projected combined 35 per cent of the vote, compared to M5S’ projected 33 per cent, and experts believe they will also demand the right to form a government.

Italian election exit pollAFP

Italian election exit polls show Five Star surge

4:30am update: A think tank named CISE have published an early election results analysis.

Headed by the political scientist Roberto D’Alimonte, the group said: “The growth of M5S appears to be closely associated with the Italian provinces with a higher unemployment rate.

“It is an effect that also supports taking into account various socio-economic indicators (variables related to economic prosperity and immigration) as well as the geographical area.

The vote in the League is higher in the provinces where the rate of foreigners has increased.

“Also in this case it is an effect that also supports taking into account various socio-economic indicators (variables related to economic prosperity and immigration) as well as the geographical area.”

4:02am update: Top Democratic Party ministers struggling to get re-elected.

Italy’s Democratic Party, Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, who is also the former chief economist of the OECD, is neck-and-neck with the League’s candidate Carlo Borghi for a seat in Siena – the PD’s heartland.

2:44am update: The latest Senate projections.

Pollster SWG predicts the Centre-Right which is Berlusconi’s coalition will have 127-147 seats.

The 5 Star Movement are heading for between 95 and 115 seats.

The Centre-left which comprises of Renzi and allies are due to get 50-70 seats.

2:32am update: Nigel Farage has offered his congratulations to Italy’s Five Star Movement.

His words have come as the latest exit polls show that the eurosceptic Five Star Movement is now the single largest party in the election.

Mr Farage tweeted: “Congratulations to my colleagues in the European Parliament Five Star Movement for topping the poll tonight.”

Italian electionGETTY

Italy waits while the votes are counted

1:55am update: Matteo Renzi to resign?

Democratic Party secretary and former prime minister Matteo Renzi may have to resign if the projections are confirmed by the final vote count.

1:38am update: Based on votes counted a Senate seat projection has been revealed.

Italy’s Senate seat projection based on actual vote count sees 5-Star taking 102-122 seats, 158 needed for a majority, according to RAI TV.

1:22am update: Projections show the Five Star Movement hold all the cards.

Silvia Merler, an analyst at the Bruegel think tank, said: “A grand coalition of Forza Italia and the Democratic Party is clearly off the table now, the Five Star Movement will be pivotal for any potential government.

“Will they prove responsible? Will they choose to open talks with the Democrats or with the Northern League? Italy’s economic future in the short term depends on that.”

1:07am update: A greater move to the right could be on the cards hen Lower House votes are counted.

Most projections so far are for the Senate, where only over-25s vote. For the Lower House, where the voting age is 18, non-establishment parties could do even better.

12:28pm update: A reviewed projection has been released based on the actual vote count.

If correct the Democratic Party (PD) would have 18.1 per cent, Lega Nord would have 15.8 per cent and Forza Italia would have 13.9 per cent, according to Mediaset.

Alessandro Di BattistaGETTY

Alessandro Di Battista, Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement lawmaker giving a speech

Sunday March 4

11:50pm update: Experts are worried there is a growing risk the stalemate will be tough to manage.

It is feared forming a cross-party grand coalition will take weeks of negotiations and still not assure a positive outcome.

11:20pm update: The markets are currently analysing the situation.

The euro is very close to the level that the currency was at prior to the release of the exit polls.

The euro rose to a two-week high of $1.2365 after 5-Star failed to win a clear majority, but talk the party could form a coalition government soon dragged it back to $1.2310.

11:15pm: Thomas Hunt is now taking over from Rebecca Perring

10:43pm update: 5-Star Movement will be ‘central’ to the next governmentAlfonso Bonafede, a close ally of 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maioy said:”We will be a pillar of the legislature.”Exit polls showed 5-Star as the largest party by a wide margin, although a centre-right coalition including former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi looked set to win the most seats.

10:21pm update: Matteo Renzi’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) was projected to win 25 to 28 per cent 

This means the PD itself might end up only the fourth-largest group in the lower house of parliament

10:18pm update:  Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) was seen winning 12.5 to 15.5 per cent – the same as the Lega (Northern League)

10:08pm update: Italy could be heading for a hung parliament 

A centre-right coalition is set to win most seats in parliament ahead of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, with the centre-left third, according to the exit polls.

However, the centre-right, made up of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!), and the far-right League and Brothers of Italy, are seen falling some way short of an absolute majority needed to govern, pollsters said.

10:03pm update: Five Star Movement is now the single largest party in the election, according to exit polls. 

The anti-EU party recieved approximately 30 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls on Rai state television and private channel La 7 

10:02pm: Rebecca Perring is now taking over from Vickiie Oliphant 

Italian electionGETTY

The votes are being counted after the polls closed in the Italian election

10pm update: The electoral system used in Italy is brand new, so it is hard to predict the outcome of this general election

It is a “mixed” system – part “first-past-the-post” and part proportional representation or PR.

Just over a third of seats in each chamber will be decided by winner-takes-all votes in individual constituencies and the rest will be allocated in proportion to the number of votes each party receives.

The new electoral law is called Rosatellum Bis, which was inspired by the German system.

All 945 members of the parliament will be elected for the 18th legislature since 1948 – Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies/lower chamber) and 315 of the Camera del Senato (the Senate/upper house).

First turnout projections shared by the Italian Home Office Ministero degli Interni at 12.26 pm local time (11 am GMT) show that 19.23 percent of people went to vote this morning.

The data are only partial, as they show the turnout in only 4,317 constituencies, roughly half of the total number Italians are voting in, but they already signal a rise in the number of people who voted compared to the last elections.

On February 24, 2013, when the last general elections took place in Italy, 14.94 per cent of people went to vote before 12 pm.

The 2013 elections took place in two days, across the whole day of Sunday and Monday morning.

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