Italians cast their ballots in a tight election, with Brussels, Berlin and the markets looking on. By Tom Burgis, Lina Saigol, Ben Fenton and Shannon Bond with contributions from FT correspondents across Italy and beyond. All times are GMT.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits an east Jerusalem settlement in October 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)
Israelis go to the polls today in an election widely expected to return Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister for a third term – an historic achievement in the turbulent world of Israeli politics. A hardliner who has not hidden his backing for settlement building on occupied land — despite issuing qualified support for a Palestinian state in 2009 — Mr Netanyahu has successfully portrayed himself as a strong leader who can protect Israelis in a tough neighbourhood in the face of widespread international criticism.
That the already hawkish Mr Netanyahu was outflanked on the right by a charismatic new candidate, Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, has become the main theme of the election campaign. Mr Bennett makes no bones of his opposition to a two state solution with the Palestinians, and advocates the annexation of at least part of the occupied West Bank. His success in the campaign is part of a sharp shift to the right in Israeli politics.
In the FT:
Naftali Bennett burst onto the political scene when he was elected leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party in November and he is emblematic of Israel’s rightward shift. He and his party campaigned hard in working class areas, underlining their support for Eretz Yisrael (Greater Israel, including occupied Palestinian land). His rise alarmed liberals and pushed Mr Netanyahu to the right on the campaign trail.
Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone, following a narrow victory for parties supporting the bailout in Greece’s election. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby in London and Shannon Bond in New York, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are London time.
23.40 Alright folks, we’re wrapping up for the night, but you can keep up with the latest developments on FT.com. Here are some of our top stories from Monday:
A family beg on a street on in Athens, June 13, 2012. Oli Scarff/Getty Images
On Sunday, Greeks will go to the polls for the second time in two months. The inconclusive election of May 6, in which no single party gained more than 20 per cent of the vote, reflected the views of an electorate deeply disillusioned with the two political parties that had taken turns to govern Greece since the end of military dictatorship in 1974 – New Democracy on the centre-right, and Pasok on the centre-left.
The far-left Syriza coalition, led by a young firebrand called Alexis Tsipras, surged into second-place, striking fear into the heart of Brussels with a promise to challenge the consensus that Greece had to stick to stringent austerity in order to please its European paymasters.
Billed as the election that could decide Greece’s fate in the eurozone, voters face an almost impossible choice this weekend – between the parties of an old, inept political order, and something new but untested. Here is some of the best news, analysis and comment on the subject from the FT and elsewhere: Read more
A boy checks the list of voters' names inside a polling station in Cairo on May 23. AP
Egypt’s “pioneering” role is hailed this morning by the press in the Arab world. And for good reason: the Egyptian presidential election is a historic moment for the region, the first time that Arabs are allowed to genuinely and freely choose their president. What happens in the largest Arab nation matters elsewhere – Egypt influences Arab public opinion and points to political trends.
I’ve heard much talk in recent months about how Egypt’s chaotic transition is damping hopes for political change and frustrating those who want to put pressure for political reforms in other Arab states. Between Egypt’s messy transition and Syria’s violence, many have lost faith in the Arab awakening. Read more
Europe’s political upheaval spread to the Netherlands, where Mark Rutte tendered his resignation as prime minister after the withdrawal of his far right coalition partner removed his majority in parliament
New official figures confirmed that, for the second time since the start of the financial crisis, Spain has fallen into recession (see 14.01)
We leave you with news of a rare moment of accountability in said crisis:
Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, has been found guilty of one count of negligence in the run-up to the country’s 2008 banking crash but will receive no punishment. The FT’s Michael Stothard reports from Stockholm:
Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, has been found guilty of one count of negligence in the run-up to the country’s 2008 banking crash but will receive no punishment.
A special court of impeachment designed to deal with criminal charges against Icelandic government ministers found Mr Haarde guilty of failing to hold dedicated cabinet meetings ahead of the crisis.
But the court cleared him of three more significant charges that could have carried a sentence of up to two years in jail.
We’ve all been there. You’re on stage outside, you’ve just secured an impossible victory forgotten to wear a hat, and an icy wind is blowing in your face.
Suddenly you’re blinking away tears.
We’ll never really know what was going on when Russia’s freshly-reinstated president Vladimir Putin appeared to weep during his victory speech on Sunday night. Was it simply a physical reaction to the bitterly cold wind, as his spokesman later claimed? Some well-timed eye-drops? Or a natural emotional response at the end of a long week?
Gideon became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections.
His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation