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No clear majority in Italian election

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The split may cause ideologically opposing parties to form coalitions

Italians awoke this morning to learn no clear majority had emerged from yesterday's election, which means parties may need to form unusual alliances. The New York Times reports:

ROME — Markets plunged and Italians awoke on Tuesday to headlines screaming “Ungovernability” and “Hung Parliament” a day after national elections to replace the technocratic government of caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti failed to produce a majority capable of governing the third-largest economy among those using the euro currency.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hinted that his center-right People of Liberty Party might be inclined to form a grand coalition with the center-left Democratic Party of Pier Luigi Bersani, a prospect that would be ideologically contradictory but which, experts said, might be the only governing coalition possible, given the outcome of the ballot.

Results indicated that the Democratic Party would have a majority in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, thanks to a premium of bonus seats given to the largest bloc. But it would only have about 119 seats in the Senate, compared with 117 seats for Mr. Berlusconi’s party, far short of the 158 required to govern.

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