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Italy Elections: Anti-immigrant 5-Star Movement poised to be largest party

In an upset, Italy's election results showed the right-wing, anti-immigrant and euroskeptic League party of Salvini surpassing the longtime anchor of the center-right, the Forza Italia party of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi
Frances D'Emilio

THE leader of the 5-Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, has said the party's strong showing throughout Italy means that it should run the next government.

Mr Di Maio spoke less than an hour after the head of the League made the same claim on the part of the centre-right coalition, which collectively has more votes than the 5-Stars.

The assertions underline the difficulties that President Sergio Mattarella will have in choosing someone to form a government, as neither of the blocs has enough to govern alone.

Mr Di Maio said that "we are a political force that represents the entire nation. We represent the whole boot, from Val D'Aosta to Sicily". He said the successes of the other groups were more regional.

He called the vote "post-ideological. It goes beyond the left and the right", and instead turned on themes like immigration and work.

The 5-Star movement tripled the number of parliamentarians over the last election in 2013, when it was also the first party but only by a hair's breadth and the government went to the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, the leader of Italy's right-wing eurosceptic League said his party's surge at the voting booths was due to its economic proposals, not its anti-immigration stance.

Matteo Salvini said the migrant issue was just "one problem" facing Italy and that the League has clear ideas on how to resolve that.

Mr Salvini said voters were attracted by "the idea that Italy recovers, works, that every once in a while stays home on Sunday to enjoy its own children, have grandparents who don't die in assembly lines".

Mr Salvini also cited his party's proposals to overturn pension reforms, introduce a flat tax and cut bureaucracy.

His group captured nearly 18 per cent of the Italian national vote on Sunday, and the right-wing bloc of parties allied with the League won 37 per cent overall.

With no faction winning a clear majority, the results confirmed that negotiations to form a new government that could win a confidence vote in parliament would be fraught.

"Ungovernable Italy" headlined daily newspaper La Stampa as the early numbers rolled in.

Mr Salvini's party appeared to be surpassing its coalition partner, the establishment Forza Italia party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

According to the partial results, the League captured around 18 per cent of the vote, while Forza Italia had less than 14 per cent.

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