The rebellion of Italy
One-quarter of the vote went to the "Five Star Movement", a new party led by a comedian, Beppe Grillo. Grillo not only rejects the EU's austerity policies, but calls for a referendum (a word always anathema to the Brussels oligarchy) on Italy abandoning the euro currency and reinstating the lira. One-quarter of voters cast their ballots for this, despite the usual fear of "throwing away" one's vote on a third party.
Between the two establishment coalitions, Luigi Bersani's "leftist" coalition was the narrow winner. I put "leftist" in quotes since Bersani supports continued submission to the EU's austerity regime, and thus has lost any valid claim to the title. His coalition failed to get a majority in the upper house of the legislature, and it's unclear whether he can assemble a big enough alliance to form a government.
Silvio Berlusconi's conservative coalition got almost as many votes as Bersani's. This marks the latest political rebirth for Berlusconi, a vulgar plutocrat who nevertheless sometimes has a knack for blurting out blunt truths that others would prefer to leave unsaid -- exactly what Europe needs these days. He too has questioned whether Italy should stick with the euro, and his rejection of austerity makes him perhaps a better "leftist", at least economically and in the current context, than Bersani.
Mario Monti, the EU quisling who has ruled Italy for a little over a year, was utterly repudiated with only about 10% of the vote.
Between Grillo and Berlusconi, two-thirds of the vote went to anti-austerity candidates. The future of the euro currency (which is the real cause of Italy's economic problems) and of the undemocratic and unworkable EU itself are once again in question. "The markets", whose flighty and transient verdicts on elections are always reported with such sober reverence by the media, are jittery as they always get when the masses defy the elites. All these things are hopeful signs.
As in centuries past, Italy has for years now been under siege by barbarians from the north. But this time, Rome just may manage to hurl back the marauders from its gates.