A troublesome scenario toward greater European integration has emerged following yesterday's parliamentary elections in Italy. Eurosceptics, populists and far right parties have gained seats at the expense of Matteo Renzi's strongly supported European Union (EU) Democratic Party (PD).
The vote that saw 73 percent of Italy's electorate going to the polls returned the largest segment of seats to the populist Five Star Movement - 32.5 percent with a projection to win between 216 to 236 of the seats, but yet shy of the 316 required to form a majority government. The far right coalition comprising the League Party, the Go Italy Party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, 81, and the Brothers of Italy Party, are projected to win between 248 to 268 seats, also shy of the 316 majority needed to form a government. Matteo's democrats won a mere 18.7 percent of the vote to win between just 107 to 127 seats, a clear defeat.
While Luigi Di Maio, 31, leader of the Five Star Movement and the League's Matteo Salvini, both made claims to rights to form a new government earlier today, no single party will be able to rule without a coalition with one or more parties because of the vote spread.
Immigration and economic issues dominated the Italian election. While unemployment sits at 11 percent, many Italians have turned their anger upon immigrants since the nation has witnessed some 600,000 asylum seekers come onto Italian shores ever since 2013.
But as matters stand in Italy today, a troublesome scenario to deeper European integration has become a reality since the larger vote getters, all Eurosceptics, stand to form the next government. The Five Star Movement has advocated an alternative to the continental Euro, protection of "Made in Italy" products and a revision of the Dublin regulation toward a distribution of asylum seekers across the EU. The right wind parties have called for the deportation of illegal migrants, developing a Marshall Plan for Africa, a revision of EU treaties, no more austerity policies from Europe and protection of "Made in Italy" products. The Democratic Party, even in defeat, has always retained a platform for more European political and social integration.
Thus, with Eurosceptics and the far right ascending to Italy's government, uncertainty emerges as to the future of deeper Italian integration within the EU.