Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018

Grillo's 5-Star MPs hold first meeting


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, March 4 - Newly elected lawmakers for Beppe
Grillo's 5-Star Movement (M5S) held their first meeting in a
Rome hotel on Monday after rocking Italy's political
establishment with a stunning performance in last week's general
The former comedian's movement holds the balance of power
in parliament after winning a total of 163 seats in both houses
and stopping Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left coalition gaining
a working majority in the Senate.
Grillo, who has not personally been elected, has said his
movement will not vote confidence in a government formed by
Bersani or ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, whose centre-right
coalition came second in the vote.
He also said he has knocked back attempts from Bersani to
lure him into a post-election pact by offering institutional
positions for members of his movement, including the speaker of
one of the houses of parliament, saying he would not get
involved in "horse trading".
Grillo has, however, said the movement that grew out of his
blog will vote in favour of bills that are on its agenda.
Nevertheless, the distance separating him from Bersani,
whom he last week called a "dead man talking", has led to big
doubts about whether it will be possible to form a government.
Bersani has ruled out forming a grand coalition with
Berlusconi's bloc.
This means there is a real possibility that Italy will have
to return to the polls later this year to break the deadlock.
This may be what Grillo wants.
The stated aim of the 64-year-old from Genoa, who has been
blasted as a populist rabble rouser advocating policies that
would take Italy towards a Greek-style economic meltdown, is to
destroy the current party system.
"We'll be besieged, they are possessed," Grillo said at
Monday's meeting at Rome's Hotel Universo.
"They cannot understand that we want to push forward a
project, (with measures) such as that for a basic income
"We'll be united and all in agreement to go down our road
and (bring about) change with the laws we propose".
The M5S's success has been interpreted as a sign that the
Italian public is tired of a political class that has been
tainted by a series of corruption scandals and has proved unable
to address the country's economic ills.
The Internet-based movement, which was founded just over
three years ago, targets the political establishment in several
of its main policy proposals.
These include the abolition of public funding for parties,
a ban on elected officials having other jobs, a two-term limit
for public officials and rendering people who have had a
criminal conviction ineligible for office.
Indeed, Grillo himself did not stand for parliament because
of a manslaughter conviction in relation to a 1981 car accident
in which three of his friends were killed in a car accident
while he was at the wheel.
The movement'S MPs are political novices who were chosen in
an online primary of around 20,000 people.
Their lack of political experience could be seen in the
nerves shown by many of the new parliamentarians as they
introduced themselves at Monday's meeting, which was transmitted
on the M5S's website.
Nevertheless, Grillo stressed that the "atmosphere here is
good, with competent, valid people".
The movement's manifesto, which has been criticised for
being too vague, also features pledges to promote free broadband
access, the abolition of stock options, a cap on the salaries of
senior executives, a ban on the privatisation of local water
companies, more energy saving and renewables, the aforementioned
basic income guarantee and a conflict of interests law.
Grillo, a loud, often foul-mouthed, passionate public
speaker, has also said Italy should have a referendum on whether
the euro should continue to be its currency and has proposed
that all trade unions be abolished.
The lawmakers representing the movement, which won more
votes than any other single party in the House contest, said
they were backing Grillo's line and would not be lured away to
rival groups trying to find recruits to have a majority in
"We have said that we will not vote for the confidence of
the (established) parties," said Vito Crimi, a 40-year-old
Palermo native who was named the M5S's "spokesman" in the
The M5S's House "spokesperson", a figure media outlets are
comparing to a conventional party's whip, will be Roberta
Lombardi, a 40-year-old Roman.

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