Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018
ROME

Grillo's M5S preparing referendum on EU membership

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, May 23 - Beppe Grillo said his
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) will drive for Italy to
have a referendum next year on whether the country should
continue to have the euro as its currency and stay in the
European Union.
"Europe should be rethought," said
comedian-turned-politician Grillo, whose Internet-based movement
captured around a quarter of the vote in February's general
election.
"We are considering doing a year of campaigning to then
call a referendum to say yes or no to the euro and to say yes or
no to Europe".
In Italy it is possible to call for a referendum by
collecting 500,000 signatures in a petition if the
Constitutional Court rules that the proposal is line with the
Constitution.
Grillo has mooted the idea of holding a referendum on the
euro in the past, prompting criticism that the 64-year-old is
little more than a populist rabble rouser advocating policies
that would take Italy towards a Greek-style economic meltdown.
He said Italy should follow the lead of Britain, after
Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on EU
membership by 2017.
"The British teach us democracy on the euro (which Britain
does not have as its currency) and Europe," said Grillo.
"No party can claim the right to decide for 60 million
people".
The M5S's sensational success at February's election was in
part out down to Grillo's rhetoric blasting the EU-imposed
austerity policies former premier Mario Monti adopted to steer
Italy away from the centre of the eurozone crisis.
Grillo is frequently foul-mouthed and has no qualms about
insulting other politicians.
He once called former centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani
a "dead man talking" and regularly refers to ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi as the "psycho-dwarf" .
But the M5S is more that simply a populist, anti-austerity
protest movement.
Grillo's stated aim is destroy the established party
system, which he blames for delivering debt, corruption and
recession.
Indeed, Italy endured two month's of political deadlock
because the M5S refused to contemplate forming a government with
the centre-left Democratic Party or Berlusconi's centre-right
PdL after the election.
The impasse was eventually ended last month by the
swearing-in of Premier Enrico Letta's unprecedented left-right
coalition government.
Grillo envisions a different way of doing politics, with
people directly involved in decision-making via online votes.
The movement came to life from Grillo's popular blog in
2009 and its MPs are political novices who were chosen in an
online primary of around 20,000 people.
The M5S's manifesto and its candidate to be Italy head of
state were also subject to votes online.
Proposed policies include the abolition of public funding
for parties - an idea that has been adopted by Letta - 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 while he was at the
wheel.
Grillo has been criticised for being his movement's
self-appointed dictator.
He responds that the M5S's innovative way of making
decisions renders irrelevant the issue of who the movement's
leader is.
"It's the end of leaders," Grillo said at a rally on
Thursday.
"We have to get used to no longer voting for leaders, for
the person or the personality, which is an infantile way of
seeing politics. The leader is the 5-Star Movement".

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