Italy’s election, Germany’s coalition highlight fragile EU

Thanks;Marcus Walker

Published: Mar 4, 2018 8:15 p.m. ET

German coalition deal reflect populists’ advances, wider dissatisfaction with establishment

MILAN, ITALY – MARCH 04: A ballot paper with the symbol of the 5-star Movement is displayed during the counting of ballot papers during the 2018 general election on March 4, 2018 in Milan, Italy.

A new bipartisan governing pact sealed Sunday in Germany could further fuel voter discontent with longtime incumbents in the European Union’s most important country, potentially sapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority in what is expected to be her final term.

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats said rank-and-file members had approved joining a coalition led by Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. The country is expected to have a new government by mid-March, ending an unprecedented political paralysis since September’s national elections, when a fragmented vote exposed a decline in support for traditional parties.

Meanwhile antiestablishment, EU-skeptic parties won about half the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Italy, leaving the shape of the next government murky. Backlashes against immigration, the euro’s fiscal constraints and politicians decried as corrupt boosted support for populists such as the antiestablishment 5 Star Movement and the right-wing Lega.

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