In what is being called “the mother of all anti-establishment votes,” populist-nationalist parties hammered parties identified as being part of the old guard in Italian elections Sunday, radically altering Italy’s political landscape.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement emerged as the biggest party in both Houses of Parliament while the anti-immigration League has taken over from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia as the largest single party on the political right.
The results will not be final until Monday evening, but exit polls point to a remarkable shift in Italian politics away from conventional parties to anti-establishment groups looking to shake up business as usual. The real victors were Luigi di Maio of the 5-Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the League, in an election that saw voter turnout at over 73 percent of the voter population, essentially debunking forecasts of low turnout due to supposed indifference and disillusionment.
Perhaps the most significant force in the new Italian politics was the southern vote, with Di Maio’s 5-Star group taking nearly 50 percent of the vote in the area comprising Sicily, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria. The 5-Star Movement ran on a Euroskeptic platform, along with promises of transparency and an end to political corruption and careerism.