After voters from the snowy peaks of the Alps to the sunny shores of Sicily delivered a verdict so fractured and mysterious it could take months to sort out, the banner headline Monday in the venerable daily La Stampa captured the state of a nation that’s left no one in charge: “Ungovernable Italy.” The same can increasingly be said for vast stretches of Europe. Across the continent, a once-durable dichotomy is dissolving. Fueled by anger over immigration, a backlash against the European Union and resentment of an out-of-touch elite, anti-establishment parties are taking votes left, right and center from the traditional power players.
They generally aren’t winning enough support to govern. But they are claiming such a substantial share of the electorate that it has become all but impossible for the establishment to govern on its own. The result is a continent caught in a netherworld between a dying political order and a new one taking root.
“This has been a post-ideological result, beyond the traditional left-right divide,” said Luigi Di Maio, whose populist Five Star Movement trounced its opponents to become Italy’s largest party Monday.
Now the country has plunged into uncertainty.