The prospect of a grand coalition between Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy) party and the ruling centre-left Democratic Party, envisaged before the vote, is no longer feasible after the two underperformed on election night.

The results leave the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League party in the driving seat as the country looks to cobble together a government with a working majority.


The maverick populist Five Star Movement (M5S) was the night's success story, sweeping Italy's south to become the single leading party in terms of votes.

Founded in 2009, the anti-establishment party has experienced a meteoric rise to prominence, riding on a wave of anger and frustration against Italy's traditional parties.

Its sharp-suited 31-year-old leader Luigi di Maio said he "felt the responsibility to form a government for Italy" after clinching 32 percent of the vote.


If there is no clear majority, President Sergio Mattarella could choose to leave in place the current centre-left government of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

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