Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Grillo requests Napolitano meeting, blasts govt


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, July 2 - Beppe Grillo, the leader of the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), on Tuesday blasted
Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government as a waste of time
and requested a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano.
Comedian-turned-politician Grillo's Internet-based movement
tapped into public disenchantment with the political class to
claim around a quarter of the vote in February's general
But it has been in turmoil of late over the amount of
internal debate and dissent allowed after several M5S lawmakers
abandoned the movement.
The M5S has also dropped in the opinion polls and performed
badly at a recent round of local elections, and this had been
blamed in part on Grillo's refusal to negotiate with the other
parties after February's vote failed to produce a clear winner.
This meant Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was
forced to form an alliance with its bitter rivals in ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party
in April to form a government to end two months of deadlock.
But Letta's executive looks fragile and its efforts to lift
Italy out of its longest recession since World War II have been
hampered by divisions between the PD and the PdL.
Indeed, Letta's predecessor Mario Monti said Sunday that
his small Civic Choice party would withdraw its support for the
government if it fails to move up a gear.
Although Monti's party is not big enough to sink the
administration, the threat is seen as indicative of its
Grillo went further than Monti Tuesday, saying the "real
aim" of the people in government was "to buy time, like convicts
on death row".
"We are heading towards an economic catastrophe and no one
in the government, in the (other) parties, in the public
institutions has the courage to denounce this, to do something,"
Grillo said on his popular blog, which gave life to the M5S in
"Napolitano should go on television, at prime time in the
evening, and speak to the nation.
"He should tell the truth about the state of the economy,
the measures we'll have to take, the enormous sacrifices that
await us".
He added that Napolitano should oblige parliament to
abolish the much-criticised election law, which gave an
inconclusive outcome in February, and then dissolve parliament.
"This agony cannot go on," he concluded. "I request a
meeting with Napolitano".
Napolitano's office said it had not received a formal
request for the meeting from Grillo and therefore could not
consider the call.
The M5S, meanwhile, said it will hold a 'Restitution Day'
outside the Lower House on Thursday to celebrate the money its
lawmakers are returning to the State.
The movement refuses public financing and its
parliamentarians, political novices elected via online polls,
pledged to return the part of their salary above that of an
ordinary Italian worker as well as the unused part of the
expense account each MP receives.
It said M5S lawmakers have returned 1.5 million euros to
the State in this way since being elected in February.
In May Letta's executive presented a bill to phase out
public funding of parties over three years, in part in response
to the attention the M5S devoted to the issue after a series of
corruption scandals hit groups from all sides of the political
Grillo called Letta's pledge to scrap public funding of
parties a "bluff", as a small fraction of each individual
taxpayer's money will be split among parties automatically
unless the person explicitly declares on their tax return that
it should not go to a political party.
Grillo has said the M5S has rejected 42 million euros in
public financing simply by not requesting it.

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