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Investors spooked by Italy’s election stalemate

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Italy's stock market took a nosedive after election polls put a comedian's protest party ahead, and voting ended with no clear winner in parliament.

"The winner is: Ingovernability," blared one headline of a Rome newspaper, after Italy's elections ended in seeming stalemate, Reuters reported.

Comedian Beppe Grillo, who heads the protest party, 5-Star Movement, was the biggest winner. He took home 25 percent of the vote — more than any other single party, Reuters said. It's unclear whether the majority in parliament will be center-right, in line with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's political views, or center-left, to match contender Pier Luigi Bersani's ideology, Reuters reports.

The markets aren't happy. Not only did stocks drop, but the costs of borrowing for the nation rose, Reuters said.

Prime Minister Mario Monti, who has been pushing unpopular austerity measures, called an emergency meeting with the governor of the central bank, the economy minister and with the European affairs minister, Reuters report.

Other governments are similarly uneasy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed disappointment and pushed for Mr. Monti to continue with austerity. France's finance minister, meanwhile, called the unsettled election and uncertain governing alliance a "worry," Reuters reported.

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