News Summary: Italy faces political gridlock

News Summary: Italy faces political gridlock after crucial elections

Associated Press
Italy faces political gridlock after crucial elex
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Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi exits a booth as he votes in a polling station in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. Italy votes in a watershed parliamentary election Sunday and Monday that could shape the future of one of Europe's biggest economies. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

NO CLEAR DECISION: The prospect of political paralysis hung over Italy as partial official results in crucial elections showed an upstart protest campaign led by a comedian making stunning inroads, and mainstream forces of center-left and center-right wrestling for control of Parliament's two houses.

NO JOKER: Comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo turned in an astonishing performance, as his 5 Star Movement capitalized on a wave of voter disgust with the ruling political class in the eurozone's third largest economy.

SILVIO'S SURPRISE: Billionaire media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, forced from the premiership at the end of 2011 by Italy's debt crisis, has a strong chance of capturing the Italian Senate. His main rival, the center-left Pier Luigi Bersani, appeared headed toward victory in Parliament's lower house.

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