The Milan stock exchange had reacted positively while exit polls suggested a clear centre-left victory, but it crashed (-4 per cent) as the data revealed it would be impossible to form a stable government, dragging down other European stocks and the euro-dollar rate.

Political risk is once again spooking financial markets. The infamous “spread” between Italian and German bond yields has already soared to 327 points.

Amid such an emergency, the Italian treasury faces the sale today of €8.75bn worth of five year bonds.