Italy: Election stalemate causes financial turmoil


Democratic Party's Pier Luigi Bersani, the favourite to become Italy's prime minister after the general election, casts his ballot in a polling station on February 24, 2013 in Piacenza. Italians fed up with austerity went to the polls on Sunday in elections where the centre-left is the favourite, as Europe held its breath for signs of fresh instability in the eurozone's third economy.



Italy's parliamentary elections have ended in a stalemate, threatening the euro zone's already fragile economic state.

Though no group has a clear majority in parliament, the center-left coalition headed by Pier Luigi Bersani won a narrow victory in the lower house of parliament.

"The winner is: Ingovernability," a headline in one Rome newspaper read. It's a reflection of what the country would will likely be facing in the coming weeks, as sworn enemies are forced to form a coalition government, Reuters reported.

BBC's Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, explained that though Bersani has control of the lower house, "even if he were to join forces with the former Prime Minister Mario Monti he would not be able to command a majority there."

The election results led to a sharp decline on the Italian stock markets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, though the national election was supposed to push Italy toward further economic reform, the voters delivered a political gridlock that caused world markets to react negatively.

On Monday, US stocks fell amid concerns that Italy's only option would be a coalition government that would once again expose the country, and consequently the euro zone, to financial turmoil, CNN Money reported.