February 26, 2013 - 09:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Italy headed for gridlock on Tuesday, Feb 26, with a stalemate in parliament between right and left after critical elections in which the real winner might be a new protest party calling for a referendum on the euro, AFP reports.
Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani and his leftist coalition scraped a razor-thin victory in the lower chamber of parliament. They won just 29.55 per cent to 29.18 per cent for Silvio Berlusconi, with 99.9 per cent of the ballots counted.
The victor's bonus will give the left a handy majority in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.
But in the 305-seat Senate, preliminary results from the interior ministry showed Berlusconi's coalition could win 110 seats to the left's 97 seats, with neither group winning a majority.
A majority in both chambers of parliament is required to form a government, leaving Italy in a state of limbo with a hung parliament that is unprecedented in its post-war history.
"It is clear to everyone that this is a very delicate situation for the country," Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani said late Monday.
Some Democratic Party officials suggested fresh elections may have to be held within a few months after a reform of Italy's complex electoral laws. Others said some form of agreement could be found with the anti-austerity Five Star Movement.
Political analysts suggested a possible return to the grand coalition agreement between right and left seen under Monti over the past 18 months -- or even dissolving the Senate alone to hold fresh elections for only one chamber of parliament.