ROME — Italy’s crucial elections appeared to be heading toward gridlock Monday, initial results showed, with the centre-left forces of Pier Luigi Bersani moving toward victory in the lower house of Parliament and the camp of former premier Silvio Berlusconi gaining the upper hand in the equally powerful Senate.
The upstart protest campaign of comic-turned-political agitator Beppe Grillo was also showing a stunningly strong result in both houses of the legislature, confirming its surprise role as a force in Italian politics.
The unfolding murky result bode badly for the Italians’ willingness to endure more tough reforms the country needs to snuff out its economic crisis and tame nervous markets. After rising in the wake of initial exit polls, Milan’s main stock index turned southward with the first official projections.
If the results verify that Parliament is split, Italy could be headed to new elections in the coming months.
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