Well, the result is, er, no conclusive result.
No single political party or coalition earned enough votes to form a working majority and it’s not looking as if the three main groups, the Bersani and Berlusconi coalitions and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement group are likely to want to jump into bed with one another to form a working government.
Beppe Grillo, whose Five Star Movement ran alone and has repeatedly stated it will not join forces with any of the existing political factions, may well resist the advances of both the center-left and, if it were to happen, Berlusconi’s center-right.
To all intents and purposes, Beppe Grillo and his movement hold the key to whether or not Italy will end up with a government.
Making the situation even more complex, is that Italy’s President may not be able to intervene and call fresh elections, or so some of Italy’s constitutional experts seem to think. Unless some kind of new government is created, and this will not be easy, Italy’s President whose own term of office is about to come to an end, won’t have a government to dissolve so new elections can be called.
This is a new mess for Italian politics and unless some solution is found, Italy risks being without a government for a while. Exactly how long Italy could be government-less is an unknown. And what will happen to Italy, Europe and the rest of the world in the meantime, is an unknown. We are not in the most economically of stable times either.
Unholy, Improbable, Alliances
There are some possible, though (highly) unlikely scenarios which could mean Italy ends up with something approaching a government:
- Beppe Grillo joins up with the PD and its center-left coalition.
- Beppe Grillo jumps into Berlusconi’s PdL party coalition bed.
- The center-left and the center-right – Bersani and Berlusconi form one, unholy, alliance.
- Beppe Grillo, the center-left and the center-right join forces and form a multi-party coalition government.
The chances of any of the above becoming reality are very slim indeed, but this is Italy, so anything could happen. Beppe Grillo plus Silvio Berlusconi? Who knows.
Silver Lining, Maybe
Still, looking on the bright side for a moment, not having a government may mean the reforms introduced by Mario Monti and his technocrat team will have more chance to take effect. If they work, Italy may be OK, but if they do not, Italy could be up to its pretty little neck in brown and smelly stuff.
The next few weeks will be interesting, or disastrous, for both Italy and Europe, if not the world.