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Italy’s ‘anticastes’ complete their parable with an internal crisis

Giuseppe Conte. / EFE

A court in Naples annuls the vote in which Giuseppe Conte was elected leader of the 5 Star Movement, which is beheaded

MINOR DARIO Correspondent in Rome

The 5 Star Movement (M5E), the main party in the Italian Parliament, has been headless since Monday after a court in Naples annulled the vote with which, last August, its internal statutes were reformed to elect the former Prime Minister as leader. Minister Giuseppe Conte. This decision could give the coup de grâce to a formation that is making this legislature very long. Although thanks to its ‘anti-caste’ speech it was the party with the most votes in the last general elections, held in 2018, since then it has suffered a continuous bloodletting that has led it to lose nearly a hundred parliamentarians, who have ended up joining other forces policies or included in the mixed group.

The latest polls place the transversal M5E slightly above 13% in voting intention and with downward prospects due to its severe internal crisis. The recent re-election of Sergio Mattarella as President of the Republic provoked a fight between Conte and the previous leader of the party, Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs, which threatened to cause a fracture between the ‘anticastes’. The sentence of the court of Naples can accelerate this disintegration, although according to a response note from the M5E, it would be enough to carry out a new consultation among its militants who have been registered for at least six months.

The fate of this party, which in the last municipal elections lost important strongholds such as the mayoralties of Rome and Turin, will be decisive in the role that its founder, Beppe Grillo, now plays. Although this histrionic comedian and actor decided years ago to leave the leadership of M5E, it was only a side step, since he has never stopped protecting it. In the last message published on his very popular blog, Grillo advocated a sort of refoundation of this political force, changing the words associated with his five stars. He would thus go from the five initial points (public water, environment, sustainable transport, development and connectivity) to other much more ethereal terms: lightness, speed, accuracy, visibility and multiplicity.

Go backwards

“Not everything has gone as we would have liked, but no one can deny that many of the changes made have been revolutionary,” said the founder of the M5E on his blog, thus claiming some of the reforms promoted by the party during this legislature, such as rent citizenship minimum. Despite the fact that Di Maio announced with great fanfare in 2018 that this measure would “abolish poverty”, its concrete impact among the disadvantaged population has been much more modest and it has not achieved a great change either to facilitate labor insertion, as intended.

In this time, moreover, the M5E has backtracked on one of its cardinal points, the renunciation of parties being financed with public money. Last November, its militants agreed to put an end to this anomaly among Italian political forces. The next internal taboo of the M5E that could fall is that of the internal prohibition of holding more than two mandates to promote renewal.

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