Italy and the European Union entered Monday into a period of uncertainty after the victory in the legislative elections of Giorgia Meloni, at the head of a far-right and right-wing coalition that faces great challenges.
The former chief executive of carmaker Fiat-Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, has died in hospital in Zurich aged 66. He was replaced four days ago when his health worsened following complications from surgery on his right shoulder.
An Italian tribunal has lifted a ban on veteran centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi from holding public office, meaning he could run to be prime minister in the next national election.
Italian anti-establishment and far-right leaders met on Friday to hash out a deal over a joint government that could be announced as soon as Sunday. Matteo Salvini, leader of the nationalist League, told reporters after meeting head of Five Star Movement (M5S) Luigi Di Maio at the lower house Chamber of Deputies that their aim was to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
Italy's general election on Sunday has so far resulted in a hung parliament, with the country's Euro skeptic Five Star Movement emerging as the single party with the most votes. The centre-right coalition headed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to gain between 248 and 268 seats and a 37% vote share, which is still short of a majority. Some 316 seats are needed to form a government.
Election projections in Italy early Monday showed a center-right coalition that includes an anti-migrant party edging past the populist 5-Star Movement but no single bloc or party with the support to win a majority in Parliament. If confirmed by official results, the outcome could set the stage for weeks of political haggling to forge a new government.
Sidestepping sex scandals, serial gaffes and legal woes, Silvio Berlusconi’s astonishing return to front-line politics rolled on Sunday at a party gathering where adoring supporters feted the billionaire mogul as Italy’s next kingmaker.
The coalition, which includes former prime minister’s Forza Italia (Go Italy) Silvio Berlusconi and two far-right parties, is being seen within the context of Europe’s lurch away from conventional parties ahead of the March 4 vote.
Italy's election race includes a dark horse. Opinion polls suggest a national vote on March 4 will produce either a conservative government or a broad coalition that will not threaten the status quo. But new electoral rules make predictions harder than usual. A post-election alliance of anti-EU parties is improbable - but not impossible.
Italians will head to the polls on 4 March in elections that look set to result in renewed instability and thrust former leader Silvio Berlusconi back to the centre of the political stage. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's cabinet set the date for the election after President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament.