Exit poll shows the Italian election is heading for a hung parliament

Silvio Berlusconi, leader of right-wing party Forza Italia, waves as he arrives to vote on March 4, 2018 at a polling station in Milan.

Silvio Berlusconi, leader of right-wing party Forza Italia, waves as he arrives to vote on March 4, 2018 at a polling station in Milan.

Italy’s parliamentary elections are set to result in a hung parliament, according to an exit poll, with a center-right coalition set to win more seats than the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

The exit poll by Rai state television on Sunday evening showed the Five Star Movement would be the largest single party, but a center-right bloc — which features former Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia party — would gain the most seats.

However, no party or coalition is expected to have enough seats to gain a majority, potentially leading to a period of instability in the country. Exit polls have notably been inaccurate in the past and the country’s Interior Ministry will release official results during the night with a final outcome likely to be revealed at 2 p.m. local time Monday.

Alongside Forza Italia, the center-right bloc comprises Noi con l’Italia, as well as Lega (formerly Lega Nord) and Fratelli d’Italia. The exit poll showed that this bloc could get between 33 and 36 percent of the vote. It also showed that the populist Five Star Movement was the most popular single party, with between 29 and 32 percent of the vote.

When based on parliamentary seats, the same state television poll projected that the center-right would gain 225 to 265 seats, well off the 316 needed for a majority.

Meanwhile, Italy’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) is expected to get 21 percent of the vote and looks likely to end up in opposition. “If this is the result, for us it is a defeat, and we will move into the opposition,” PD lower house leader Ettore Rosato said, according to Reuters.

In the currency markets, the euro was fairly stable against the dollar after the exit poll at 11:00 p.m. local time Sunday. The single currency was trading higher by around 0.2 percent before the poll, and had held onto those gains an hour later, after some brief volatility.

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