M5S and League win big in Italian elections

Centre right top coalition in hung parliament

(By Denis Greenan).
    (ANSA) - Rome, March 5 - The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the anti-migrant, Euroskeptic League were the big winners in Sunday's general election.
    The M5s came out as Italy's top party with 32% of the vote with over half ballots counted, about 2% more than it had been polling before the election.
    M5S premier candidate Luigi Di Maio on Monday hailed the M5S's success in the general election as "historic".
    "It's a beautiful day, despite the rain," he said. "It's an historic result and was an undescribable emotion", he said coming out of his house in Rome.
    The M5S scored a "triumph" thanks to "11 million Italians" and is ready to "talk to all parties" on its government agenda, Di Maio said. "We are ready to talk to all political forces starting from the guarantee figures we would like to identify for the speakerships of the two houses (of parliament) but above all on the issues which must concern the agenda," he said.
    Di Maio said "I am confident that President (Sergio Mattarella) will be able to guide this moment with authoritativeness and responsibility".
    Italy has entered its 'Third Republic' thanks to the 5-Star Movement's success and the M5S has "tripled" its MPs, Di Maio said.
    Di Maio said "above all we feel the responsibility of giving the country a government. We say this above all to investors: we feel this responsibility". He stressed that no coalition had the numbers to govern.
    The League was hovering at 18% compared to pre-election polls of 14-15%, and overtook its coalition ally, Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (FI) which got about 14%.
    It was just over a percentage point behind the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) whose leader, ex-premier Matteo Renzi, has said he will quit.
    In terms of coalitions, the centre right also featuring Brothers of Italy (FdI) which got 4% was top with 36%, while the PD-led centre-left coalition was around 24% with the PD itself slumping to under 19% from pre-electoral polls of 23-4%.
    League leader Matteo Salvini hailed the League's win. "It's an extraordinary victory," said Salvini, which "fills us with pride, joy and responsibility". He said "I see it as a vote for the future, the Italians have rewarded the future".
    Salvini added: "The team with whom you must talk and govern is the centre right.
    "I'm someone who keeps his word and the commitment regards the centre right coalition, which has won and can govern".
    The centre right came top among coalitions with 37% of the vote compared to the centre left's 24%, but fell short of winning a ruling majority.
    Salvini is now the coalition's premier candidate with the League having outscored FI.
    Salvini added: "I will remain a populist, those who listen to the people are doing their duty.
    "Italians are fed up with radical chic".
    The vote "punished the arrogance of Renzi and his people", Salvini said.
    Salvini also rejected the idea of forming a coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which got 32%, saying "No to strange coalitions. No, no, no...".
    He went on: "It will be President (Sergio Mattarella) who will choose the premier who has the numbers closes to reality".
    His deal with Berlusconi, he recalled, meant that "the party that got one vote more than the other would have the honour and burden of meeting the challenge of bringing the country out of the quicksand".
    "I have not heard from Berlusconi, I'll do it later, but deals between friends are clear," Salvini said.
    "That's what we're going to do," he said referring to his installation as centre-right premier candidate.
    Salvini said he could rule out broad "special-purpose, time-limited or institutional governments.
    "We're not taking part in minestrone governments," he said.
    Salvini said he hoped European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would remain at the EC helm for as short a time as possible. "I thank Juncker for the words he said in the election campaign (against populism), because the more he speaks the more votes we get. Let's hope he stays president of the European Commission for the shortest time possible".
    Financial markets have nothing to fear from the victory of the rightwing populist League, Salvini said.
    "The markets have nothing to fear, on the contrary," said Salvini.
    "Lower taxes and faster justice should stimulate investment," he said, adding that "Italians decide for Italy, not Berlin or the (bond) spread".