A mix of political turmoil, voter indecision and procedural complications could leave the eurozone’s third-largest economy weakened by the time the dust has settled and the result announced in the Italian election.
Most polls in Italy opened at 7am local time, although there were some administrative hiccups forcing some polling stations to remained closed in Palermo hours into election day. Wrong ballots were delivered to some polling stations, meaning 200,000 new ones had to be reprinted overnight. Voting booths will close at 11pm, with exit polls expected on the hour and then projected results some time later.However, the last set of opinion polls before the vote have suggested that the real winner of the election could be instability, with no party expected a large victory.
A new electoral system has left Italian voters confused, as it is partly first-past-the post and partly proportional. The system doesn’t provide any majority ‘bonus prize’ to the biggest party, making a uncertain outcome highly likely.
Voters will have a wide choice when they go to the polls. Extreme-right Eurosceptic populist parties such as the Northern League and Giorgia Meloni’s Italian Brothers; the anti-establishment Five Star Movement; and the return of openly fascist parties such as Forza Nuova and CasaPound will all feature on the ballot.
While it is difficult to predict a winner in this election, opinion polls have all pointed to the left wing being the biggest loser, following failed attempts of constitutional reform by leader of the Democratic Party, Matteo Renzi.
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