Almost all so-called analysts were dead wrong, who predicted an easy, majority win for the center-left coalition of Pier Luigi Bersani. They thought the coalition would then continue the austerity policies of the technocrat administration of Mario Monti.
Instead, Silvio Berlusconi's coalition has a very strong showing, spooking the financial markets somewhat.
From Reuters (2/25/2013; emphasis is mine):
Italy election forecasts point to political gridlock
(Reuters) - Conflicting early forecasts of the result of Italy's election on Monday raised the specter of deadlock in parliament that could paralyze a new government and re-ignite the euro zone crisis.
Officials from both center and left warned that such gridlock could make Italy ungovernable and force new elections.
Opinion polls have long pointed to the center-left of Pier Luigi Bersani winning the lower house, but projections from RAI state television showed Silvio Berlusconi's center right in front in the Senate - which has equal lawmaking power - but unable to form a majority.
RAI showed the center-left well short of a majority in the Senate even in coalition with Monti, who was seen slumping to only 19 out of 315 elected Senators against a massive 65 for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo.
Senate votes are counted before the lower house.
The latest projections ran counter to earlier telephone polls that showed the center left taking a strong lead in the Senate as well as the lower house.
Italian financial markets took fright after rising earlier on hopes for a stable and strong center-left led government, probably backed by outgoing technocrat premier Mario Monti.
Such government is seen by investors as the best guarantee of measures to combat a deep recession and stagnant growth in the euro zone's third largest economy, which is pivotal to stability in the currency union.
Berlusconi's declared aim is to win enough power in the Senate to paralyze a center-left administration.
(Full article at the link)
A deep recession and stagnant growth in Italy to be cured by austerity programs by unelected technocrats? No thanks, saying enough Italians.