Italian Election Results Expose Eurozone Inadequacy

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The election results in Italy are a lesson to Europe. Italians were once among the most enthusiastic supporters of the European project. This is true no longer, the Financial Times reported. The combination of economic malaise with political impotence has discredited not only Italy’s political and policymaking elite, but even the country’s engagement with the EU. This does not mean Italy will leave; the costs would be too great. It means instead that the threat of both friction between Italy and the European establishment and further financial and economic disruption is now far greater. The election results are quite as shocking as the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Tump in the US: 55 per cent of the voters chose Eurosceptic and anti-establishment parties. The Five Star Movement — an amorphous party of protest — gained 32 per cent of the vote and the League — a rightwing nationalist party — gained 18 per cent. The share of the centre-left Democratic party, in which the European establishment had put its trust, tumbled from 41 per cent four years ago to 19 per cent. The share of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia fell to 14 per cent. Read more. (Subscription required.)