Protest voting in Italy has created a new political landscape and pushed the country towards deadlock.
With more than 90 percent of the votes counted in the country’s parliamentary elections (at 22:00 CET on February 25), the centre-left led by Pier Luigi Bersani has a slim lead over Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition in the lower house of parliament. But neither faction seems likely to be able to form a majority in the Senate.
Amid all the uncertainty, one thing is clear. The election has been a stunning success for anti-establishment Beppe Grillo – a former comedian and leader of the populist Five Star movement.
Grillo has managed to harness public anger about austerity measures, and frustration at political and corporate corruption, to become the new third force in Italian politics.