Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Grillo fails to quell M5S dissent after election flop


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 12 - The anti-establishment 5-Star
Movement's (M5S) internal turmoil following its flop in an
important round of local elections continued on Wednesday
despite leader Beppe Grillo's attempt to quell dissent.
On Tuesday Senator Adele Gambaro said
comedian-turned-politician Grillo, who frequently communicates
his political thoughts via an often angry blog where no holds
are barred, was the root of the M5S's problems.
Grillo, who in 2009 founded the movement that rode a wave
of public disenchantment with Italy's established political
class to win around a quarter of the vote in February's general
election, subsequently asked Gambaro "to leave the M5S as soon
as possible".
But the hard line has not stamped out criticism within the
Internet-based movement, which refuses public funding and
selects political novices as its representatives via online
''We are too Grillo-dependent'', M5S Senator Bartolomeo
Pepe told Rome daily Il Messaggero, adding that the movement was
heading towards ''self-destruction''.
''Even from a physical standpoint, Beppe cannot last
another parliamentary term,'' Pepe said of the movement's
64-year-old leader, who toured Italy in a camper van in the
so-called 'Tsunami Tour' and swam across the Messina Strait
before the general election.
''Can you picture him when he is 70 still getting mad at
"We will last a term of parliament, we are destined for
The M5S was largely absent from Sunday's and Monday's
run-off contests to elect mayors in many Italian cities,
including Rome, after suffering a big fall in support in the
first round of voting.
It did, however, manage to get mayors elected in the towns
of Pomezia near the capital and Assemini in Sardinia.
Last week two M5S lawmakers defected and another was
recently kicked out for breaking the movement's rules about
giving interviews to Italian media outlets, which Grillo says
collude with the other parties.
Some say the outcome of the local votes was in part down to
the intransigent line Grillo adopted after February's election
ended in a virtual tie between the centre-left Democratic Party
(PD), ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Freedom (PdL) party and the M5S.
Grillo refused to consider forming a government with the
PD, which he considers a tainted part of a discredited system
that produced corruption and recession, along with the PdL and
the other established parties.
But some M5S voters said this meant an opportunity was
missed to pass reforms to make Italy's public life more
transparent and to consign Berlusconi to the margins of Italy's
political arena.
Instead Berlusconi's party has big influence on government
policy as Grillo's refusal to negotiate forced the PD to form an
alliance with the PdL that in April enabled Premier Enrico
Letta's government to be sworn in after two months of deadlock.
Grillo, who blasted voters following the first round last
month, has refused to accept any responsibility for
local-election defeats.
''The outcome of the election is dramatic for Italy'', he
wrote on Tuesday on his blog, saying Italians were ''beginning
to lose hope''.
The M5S's outgoing Senate whip, Vito Crimi, said that
movement remained behind Grillo and that Gambaro's opinions were
not shared by the majority of MPS lawmakers in the Upper House.
"If today the only hope of carrying out a cultural,
democratic, non-violent revolution is 5-Star Movement, it is
thanks to Beppe Grillo," Crimi said.
"Those (in parliament) who no longer agree with the path
and ideas of the 5-Star Movement are free to make their choices,
but they'll have to assume their responsibilities with the
people who elected them and voted for an idea, a model, a

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