Populist parties surge in Italian election exit poll

Polls have closed in Italian pa...

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 4:17 PM

Polls have closed in Italian parliamentary elections, with the first exit polls showing no party has received more than the 40% required to govern.

Exit polls in Italy are not always entirely reliable -- but if they prove correct, the center-right coalition brokered by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will have the most seats in parliament. Final results are expected at 2pm Italian time on Monday.

The anti-establishment, populist Five Star Movement has polled the highest, with between 29% and 32% of the vote, according to the television station RaiNews24.

In second place in terms of party strength, with estimates from 20.5%-23.5%, is the ruling Democratic Party.

Berlusconi's party, Forza Italia, received between 13% and 16%; the xenophobic Northern League also received 13% to 16%. This would give the center-right coalition brokered by Berlusconi the most votes, including votes for the smaller Brothers of Italy Party, which is also in the coalition.

Berlusconi, a multibillionaire, is not eligible to be Prime Minister because he has been convicted of tax fraud.

Italian political leaders seemed to be waiting for more results before weighing in on social media, with only the League leader Matteo Salvini tweeting "My first word: THANK YOU."

"The European Union is going to have a horrible evening," tweeted Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far right.

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