Milan/Rome: (Left) Right-wing, anti-immigrant and eurosceptic Leagues leader Matteo Salvini gives the thumbs-up at the end of a press conference about the election results on Monday.
Italy's inconclusive parliamentary election leaves open a wide range of possible alliances, putting the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in the drivers' seat as the largest party.
Neither got enough votes to govern alone, however, which will likely lead to a period of political uncertainty in Italy.
"Ungovernable Italy" headlined daily newspaper La Stampa as the early numbers rolled in.
If no party or coalition wins an overall majority, the results will leave Italy with few options.
The coalition formed of far-right groups and Silvio Berluconi's centre-right Forza Italia party took 37 percent of the vote, the leading bloc in the poll. The League, who were the junior to Forza Italia, won 17% of the votes whilst the latter was trailing with 14% of the votes.
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She said the central role of Five Star would "cast a shadow on the plans of France's president Emmanuel Macron for further eurozone integration".
Mr Di Maio, however, recently shelved the party's demand for a referendum on Italy's membership of the euro, and Mr Salvini has also said that he does not believe it is time for an exit from the single currency. Led by Luigi Di Maio, the populist 5-Star Movement came out as the main victor of Sunday's poll, with roughly 31% of the votes.
Di Maio spoke less than an hour after the head of the League made the same claim on the part of the center-right coalition, which collectively has more votes than the 5-Stars.
The 5-Star Movement considers itself an internet-based democracy, not a party, and views established political parties as a parasitic caste.
"The vote has radically transformed Italy's political landscape and its repercussions will be long-lasting", Piccoli, the co-founder of the Teneo Intelligence consultancy, said.
While the run up to the election featured a local Northern League candidate shooting at African immigrants, Marco Tarchi, a political scientist at the University of Florence, told the Daily News that the League was benefiting from populism rather than purely far-right ideology.
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Sunday's election results speak for themselves: the two populist parties (the Five Star Movement and Lega Nord) have won, while the establishment-mainstream parties have been all but wiped out.
A member of the European Parliament for Lega since 2004, Salvini later began forging connections with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and their Dutch counterpart Geert Wilders. The process, brokered by Italian president Sergio Mattarella, might take weeks.
'Now, however, it looks increasingly unlikely that populist parties, and Five Star in particular, can be left out of a broad coalition given the election result.
Analysts say the strong showing by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the rightwing League party means it's less likely the next Italian government will try to make the economy more pro-business.
The negotiations to form a coalition government would be "prolonged and the outcome uncertain", he said. The gradual move toward pro-market policies in the euro zone will enable the region to better deal with the fallout from the expected departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union next March. The sad reality is that the financial crisis has left Italians poorer in the last decade, according to statistics from national agency Istat.
As a result of the surge in popularity of extremist parties, the FTSE MIB slumped 1.2% to 21,640 points while Italian 10-year government bonds widened 10 basis points to 2.14%.
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