5-Star top party in Italian election, but without majority - projections

Communities in European states, including Italy and Germany, have voiced serious concerns that they have been left alone while being overwhelmed by the numbers of migrants. "Turn the page, and that will bring down the government that we have right now". The EU Commission's spokesperson also expressed confidence for the formation of a "stable government" in Italy.

In the 1970 and 1980s Italy, one of the Europe's - and the world's - richest and most blessed nations, was gripped by a unusual paranoia and found itself at the epicentre of the Cold War's proxy battles in Europe.

Italy's populist Five Star Movement (M5S) party leader Luigi Di Maio arrives to vote for general elections on March 4, 2018 in Naples.

"We will be a pillar of the legislature", said a smiling Alfonso Bonafede, a close ally of Di Maio, told La7. "That's why we feel the responsibility to give Italy a government".

5-Star is likely to be the largest single party by a wide margin, with 29.5-32.5 per cent of the vote for the lower house, according to the Rai exit poll.

The election is a political sea change for Italy, with voters shunning the parties that have governed the country in recent years, including the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (Go Italy!).

The result could leave Italy with a hung Parliament and hard coalition talks lie ahead for parties vying to form the next government.

The biggest individual victor was the populist Five Star Movement, which took around 32 percent in both houses of parliament. The League campaigned on a strong anti-migrant message and did well in areas which had seen the strongest growth in foreign residents.

The Democratic Party's Matteo Renzi rose from mayor of Florencer to the prime minister's post in 2014, but he resigned in 2016.

Zangana (pictured) said the size of the Italian economy meant the election results were "very important for global investors" who may dump Italian government bonds, causing yields to rise sharply on its "huge mountain of government debt", which sits at €2.2 trillion (£2 trillion) or 133% of GDP. However, an unclear factor is the very high number of undecided, but also the abstention rate.

Renzi resigned on Monday as leader of the PD after the election defeat.

In order to form a government, Five Star must find coalition partners. "I don't think we should panic, because there's an overwhelming majority of anti-fascist people, but we need to be united in providing a barrier against xenophobia and fascist nostalgia". The image of Lega as an anti-establishment party is artificially crafted, he argued, claiming that it is in fact "a government party".

A possible alliance, or other?

So, which way will Five Star turn?

  • Carolyn Briggs