Berlusconi Ahead in Senate Race, Hung Parliament Likely

By Valentin Schmid On February 25, 2013 @ 12:56 pm In Europe | No Comments

Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves the voting booth before casting his ballot at a polling station on Feb. 24, 2013 in Milan. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves the voting booth before casting his ballot at a polling station on Feb. 24, 2013 in Milan. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

Preliminary Italian election results indicate no party will win a clear majority in the lower house, thus creating a hung Parliament. In the race for Senate, Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition is projected to win a majority, according to exit polls.

First exit polls on the evening of Feb. 25, indicate that center-left candidate Per-Luigi Bersani and his coalition are set to take 33.4 percent of the vote for the lower chamber of the legislature, called the Chamber of Deputies, reports Sky Italia. Under Italian election law, any coalition that holds a relative majority in that house will get an absolute majority of seats (340 out of 630).

In order to successfully pass laws, Bersani would need a majority in the upper chamber, the Italian Senate. But here, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leads the polls with 31.6 percent of the votes, ahead of Bersani at 29.2. As things stand, this constellation will make it impossible for Bersani to legislate reform.

Financial markets across Europe reacted with worry about the uncertainty which might well result in another election in a few months time. The Italian stock market had rallied on previous news that Berlusconi was not going to win the election. After first reports of Berlusconi’s success in the Senate surfaced, the Milan stock exchange lost all of its gains of close to 4 percent and closed negative 0.5 percent for the day.

Official results are expected to come in later on Feb. 25 or early the next day.

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