m3n4.net March 22, 2019

Italians voting in general election

05 March 2018, 12:49 | Tara Lloyd

GETTYLega Nord has secured strong support for their anti-migration stance

Italian election protest

Polling has now closed with final results due tonight NZT.

Official results are expect in the early hours of Monday.

Voting stations are open until 11 p.m. (2 a.m. UAE time), when the first exit polls will be released.

The recent polls show Salvini's emergence as an eminent figure in country's far-right movement, just after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi whose Forza Italia was in the lead.

While polls have consistently placed the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement as the top vote-getter for a single party, its margin isn't expected to be enough to govern alone.

A hung Parliament would trigger an extended period of horse-trading among the parties.

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"I'd like to see the parties work together more for the good of the country. there was too much mud-slinging during the campaign", said 20-year-old Luca Hammad while leaving a polling station in Rome.

Italy's underdeveloped south, where youth unemployment runs 50 per cent or higher, and the jobless rate among all ages is almost double that in the relatively affluent north, will be a battleground for Italy's political elections. Even if you find a job, wages are so low that it is hardly worth working.

The center-right bloc includes former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party.

The last opinion polls before the vote put Berlusconi's coalition in the lead with 37%, followed by the M5S with 28% and the centre-left with 27%. "Salvini is the ideal man for Italy. the priority is to control the borders and then give a helping hand to the economy", Claudio Gaiola, an electronics goods maker from Turin who sported a baseball cap saying "Salvini premier", told Reuters.

Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party has partnered with three smaller parties to form a centre-left, pro-EU bloc that has staked its campaign on proposals to revive the economy. General elections are held every 5 years.

However, the Five Star Movement has said it does not wish to enter into coalition with any other party, undercutting the prospect of a stable government emerging in the coming weeks.

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Instead, delegates at the party's annual convention gave the majority of votes-54 percent-to progressive state Sen. House races with as many as seven Democratic hopefuls, warning a failure to unite could boost Republicans.

If there is no new majority in Parliament, Mr Paolo Gentiloni of the Democratic Party would remain as prime minister.

Heavily indebted Italy is the third-largest economy in the 19-member euro zone and, though investors have been sanguine ahead of the ballot, prolonged political stalemate could reawaken the threat of market instability.

A new law passed a year ago, ostensibly to make Italy more governable, calls for a combination of direct and proportional voting for both the lower Chamber of deputies, which has 630 seats, and the Senate, which has 315 seats.

Five Star's leader Luigi Di Maio broke with tradition by announcing a full list of ministerial nominees ahead of the vote, including many academics with no political experience. "It's been the case before but never like today", said Roberto D'Alimonte, head of political science at Rome's Luiss University.

The billionaire tycoon can not himself hold office because of a tax fraud conviction but has put forward European Parliament President Antonio Tajani as his prime ministerial nominee.

Mr Tajani's moderate profile is aimed at allaying fears in Europe about his populist allies, notably the League, whose leader Matteo Salvini has promised to deport the 600,000 boat migrants who have arrived in Italy over the past four years. Describing himself as a "proud Catholic", he said Pope Francis had nevertheless "exacerbated the migrant crisis" with his call for Europe to open its arms to refugees.

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Italy's election "epitomizes everything, it is pure populism", Bannon said in an interview with The New York Times last week.

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