Speed Reads

Italy Votes

Italy appears set for hung parliament as populists, right-wing bloc win most votes

Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement won the most votes in Italy's national elections on Sunday, but a right-leaning coalition is likely to win the most seats, with no party or group earning a majority, projections showed early Monday. Five Star, a populist party started in 2009 by a former comedian, was projected to win about 32.5 percent of the vote, followed by the anti-immigrant right-wing party the League, with 17.7 percent, plus the League's main coalition party, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, at 13.3 percent. The ruling center-left Democrats are projected to get just under 20 percent, with their leftist coalition earning about 22 percent.

"Everybody will have to come talk to us," said Five-Star senior leader Alessandro Di Battista. It is unclear whether the movement, which rejects establishment parties, will be able or willing to form a governing coalition. Both Five Star and the League are highly skeptical or antagonistic toward the European Union, but disagree about domestic policy and immigration. The Five-Star movement is led by Luigi Di Maio, 31, and the headline of Italy's La Stampa newspaper on Monday read: "Di Maio Wins, Italy Ungovernable."

The poor showing of the Democrats has fed speculation that former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will step down as party leader, and if final results show Forza Italia still eclipsed by its former junior partner, the League (formerly the Northern League), that would be another blow to Berlusconi, a four-time former prime minister who is trying to make yet another comeback. If no bloc can compile a governing majority after weeks or months of negotiations, Italy will have to hold new elections.