Italy election: Five Star Movement vows to not form coalition

Oblivious to past scandals, Silvio Berlusconi barrels forward ahead of Italy's election

Italians who elected a bombastic billionaire businessman and media figure to lead their country are still dealing with the chaotic consequences more than two decades later.

He can not hold public office until next year due to a tax fraud conviction.

This means that after Sunday's vote, the different political forces will have to work together to reach a compromise.

There has been a young man knifed while affixing posters for a far-left party, a politician for a far-right party beaten up on a street, a candidate for prime minister spat upon and shoved while stumping for her far-right party and protests and counter-protests in the streets from north to south.

"Berlusconi is not Trump anymore".

Tajani's moderate profile is aimed at allaying fears in Europe about his populist allies, notably the League, whose leader Matteo Salvini has promised to deport the 600,000 boat migrants who have arrived in Italy over the past four years.

On Thursday Berlusconi spoke of Italians being more anxious about security now than at any time since the Second World War, while at a recent rally in Padova, Salvini said that "the League is the solution" to "a tide of of delinquents". There were also reports of misprinted ballots at one polling booth in Rome.

Salvini himself said in October that if his coalition with Berlusconi didn't win a majority, he'd call Five Star co-founder Beppe Grillo.

Pollsters predict Sunday's parliamentary election will result in a hung parliament in which former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's alliance of centre-right groups will be the largest bloc and 5-Star the biggest single party.

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"They say they are not a fascist party, but they are a fascist party", Tidda said.

Italy's center-left Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has sought to sound the alarm, telling the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday that the election was the most important in a quarter-century, a "contest against populism" with the system of free markets and an open society at stake.

As critics have accused Trump of legitimizing the far right in the USA, historian Andrea Mammone told The News in the run-up to the Italian election that the "center-right" had given support to the extremes, and pointed out that Brothers of Italy president Giorgia Meloni was a minister in a Berlusconi government. His leadership is openly challenged by his hard-right ally Matteo Salvini, who covets the post of prime minister.

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Berlusconi also said he was concerned about the queues.

Leading in opinion polls has been the Eurosceptic Five-Star Movement, but because it denies it is a political party, it candidate for prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, a 31-year-old former football stadium steward, nixes it entering into a post-election coalition government with established parties.

Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi gestures during a meeting in Rome, Italy, earlier this week. "I am anxious that there might be some situations in which some people will not be able to vote", he said.

Because of a tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi can not hold public office, but as a three-time prime minister, his face is a familiar one among European and global leaders, and he has even sometimes become the figurehead of comical situations between himself and his peers.

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