Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Grillo say M5S was trapped, crack appears in hard line


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, March 18 - Cracks have appeared in the 5-Star
Movement's (M5S) hard line after a handful of the
anti-establishment group's lawmakers defied orders and voted for
the centre-left's candidate to be Senate speaker at the weekend.
M5S leader Beppe Grillo, who is hostile to the established
parties and had ordered his movement's Senators to abstain, was
furious, saying there would be consequences for the rebels who
had fallen into a "trap".
After inconclusive votes on Friday, Pier Luigi Bersani's
centre-left alliance managed to get both of its candidates
elected as Speakers for the House and Senate, Italy's third- and
second-highest institutional roles respectively behind the
Having failed to reach an agreement for a consensus
candidate, the centre-left had no trouble getting Laura
Boldrini, a former spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees, elected into the key position in the House.
However, the centre-left, which came first in last month's
general election but failed to win a working majority in the
Senate, was not sure of being able to carry the day in the Upper
In the first rounds of voting the Senators belonging to the
M5S, which holds the balance of power in the Upper House after
capturing a massive protest vote last month, backed their own
But when it came to Saturday's run-off between the two
frontrunners, a few M5S Senators opted to back the centre-left's
man, former chief anti-Mafia judge Pietro Grasso, rather than
run the risk of seeing Renato Schifani, the candidate of
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre right, keeping the job he
held in the previous parliamentary term.
Three M5S Senators have admitted voting for Grasso.
The outcome shows comedian-turned-politician Grillo, who
has not been elected himself, may have problems imposing
discipline on his novice lawmakers.
Nevertheless, experts say it is still unlikely that Bersani
will manage to convince enough M5S Senators to win a confidence
vote in a government led by him and break the political deadlock
the country is currently embroiled in.
When Grillo berated the rebel Senators at the weekend, it
revived claims that the 64-year-old from Genoa runs the movement
like a dictatorship.
Bersani said he was using "Leninist" methods.
That criticism did not stop Grillo hitting out again on
Monday, saying the M5S rebels had broken the movement's rule to
stick with the line agreed by the majority and shown political
"The choice between Schifani and Grasso was an impossible
one," Grillo wrote on his long-standing blog, which gave life to
the Internet-based M5S in 2009.
"It was a question of deciding between the bubonic plague
and a bad cold...
"The game had already been organised to put the 5-Star
Movement in trouble. Some people, in good faith, fell into it.
"The same pattern will be repeated in the future. Berlusconi
will propose unacceptable people, the (centre-left) PD
(Democratic Party) will give a fig leaf.
"The M5S must not fall into these traps. Anyway the problem
isn't Grasso. If, for example, the majority of the M5S Senators
had decided to vote for Grasso and everyone had stuck by the
decision, there wouldn't be any case to answer.
"What's at stake isn't Grasso, but the respect of the M5S's
Bersani has tried to win the M5S over with an eight-point
platform reflecting many of the movement's policies, including
cuts to the number of parliamentarians and other measures to
reduce the cost of politics.
Grillo, who says Bersani's Democratic Party (PD) is part of
a corrupt, malfunctioning system that he wants to revolutionise,
has responded with insults, which have included him describing
Bersani as a "dead man talking".
With Bersani ruling out the hypothesis of forming a grand
coalition with Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, the
prospect of Italy having to return to the polls later this year
seems likely.
President Giorgio Napolitano is set to start consultations
with party leaders on Wednesday, after which he will ask one of
them, probably Bersani, to try to form a government.

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