Five Star Movement

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Five Star Movement
Movimento 5 Stelle
Guarantor Beppe Grillo[1][2]
Leader Luigi Di Maio[3]
Founders Beppe Grillo
Gianroberto Casaleggio
Founded 4 October 2009
Headquarters Via Nomentana 257, Rome, Italy
Newspaper Il Blog delle Stelle
Membership (2016) 135,023[4]
Ideology Populism[5][6]
Anti-establishment[7]
Direct democracy[8]
E-democracy[9]
Environmentalism[10]
Euroscepticism[11]
Anti-globalization[12][third-party source needed]
Political position Big tent[13]
National affiliation Government of Change (2018–present)
European affiliation None
International affiliation None
European Parliament group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Colours      Yellow      White
Chamber of Deputies
222 / 630
Senate
109 / 315
European Parliament
14 / 73
Regional Presidents
0 / 20
Regional
Councils
113 / 897
Website
movimento5stelle.it

The Five Star Movement (Italian: Movimento 5 Stelle [moviˈmento ˈtʃiŋkwe ˈstelle], M5S) is a political party in Italy. The M5S was started on 4 October 2009 by Beppe Grillo, a popular comedian and blogger, and Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist.[14] After Casaleggio's death in April 2016, Grillo appointed a directorate composed of five leading MPs (Alessandro Di Battista, Luigi Di Maio, Roberto Fico, Carla Ruocco and Carlo Sibilia),[15] which lasted until the following October when Grillo dissolved it and proclaimed himself the "political head" of the M5S.[16] Grillo is also formally president of the association named Five Star Movement; his nephew, Enrico Grillo, serves as vice president; and his accountant, Enrico Maria Nadasi, as secretary.[1] Davide Casaleggio, Gianroberto's son, has an increasingly important albeit unofficial role.[17][18][19]

The M5S is variously considered populist,[20][21] anti-establishment,[21][22] environmentalist,[23][24] alter-globalist[25] and Eurosceptic.[26] The party has also been described as New Right[27] and accused of being right-wing due to its anti-immigration stance despite its promotion of policies usually advocated by Italian left-wingers, such as citizen's income and green policies.[28] Grillo himself provocatively once referred to the movement as "populist".[29] Its members stress that the M5S is not a party but a "movement", and it may not be included in the traditional left–right paradigm. The "five stars" are a reference to five key issues for the party: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, right to Internet access, and environmentalism. The party also advocates e-democracy, direct democracy,[23][30] the principle of "zero-cost politics",[31] degrowth[32] and nonviolence.[33] In foreign policy, the M5S has criticized military interventions of the West in the Greater Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq[34] and Libya) as well as any notion of American intervention in Syria.[35]

At the 2013 general election, the M5S was won the most votes out of all parties (excluding votes from Italians abroad) for the Chamber of Deputies.[36] However, its deputies only held 109 out of 630 positions as M5S refused to join a coalition. If the party had considered being part of a coalition, it would have been the third largest party.[37] Since the 2014 European Parliament election, the M5S has been part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament, along with the UK Independence Party and minor right-wing parties. In January 2017, M5S members voted in favor of Grillo's proposal to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group, but the party was eventually refused[38] and M5S continues to be part of the EFDD group.

In 2016, two party members, Virginia Raggi[39] and Chiara Appendino, were elected mayors of Rome and Turin, respectively. On 21–22 September 2017, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies Luigi Di Maio was elected with 82% of votes in an online primary election as candidate to the premiership and "political head" of the movement, replacing Grillo as leader of the M5S, but not as the M5S's "guarantor".[40][41] In January 2018, Grillo separated his own blog from the movement, which was used in the previous years as an online newspaper of the M5S and the main propaganda tool.[42]

At the 2018 general election, the M5S became the largest individual party in the Italian Parliament and entered government.[43]

History[edit]

Meetups[edit]

On 16 July 2005, Beppe Grillo offered the proposals' supporters (outlined in his blog) to adopt social networks, such as Meetup, to communicate and coordinate local meetings. This is how the first 40 Friends of Beppe Grillo meetups started, with the initial aim, according to Grillo, to "have fun, get together and share ideas and proposals for a better world, starting from one's own city. And discuss and develop, if you believe, my posts".[44] Meetups featured thematic working groups on topics entitled "technology and innovation", "press-communication", "ethical consumerism", "currency study", "no incinerators" and others.[45][46] It is from these beginnings that Grillo was asked to stand in the primaries for the selection of the prime ministerial candidate of the centre-left coalition The Union that was scheduled for October 2005.[47]

On three occasions (17 December 2005 in Turin, 26 March 2006 in Piacenza and 16 to 18 June 2006 in Sorrento), the representatives of the Friends of Beppe Grillo meetups held national meetings in the presence of Grillo, where proposals mostly regarding environmental issues were discussed, such as the replacement of polluting incinerators with systems applying mechanical-biological waste treatment.[48]

During the fourth national meeting held in Genoa on 3 February 2007, Grillo announced his desire to provide local meetup activists an autonomous space within the shows of his tour.

On 14 July 2007, the representatives of some civic lists, who had participated in local elections the previous spring, met in Parma to establish a national coordination between associations, movements and organisations. They met to practice civic lists, practice promoting and experimenting direct and participatory democracy and share a document of intent that among its main objectives included the establishment of proposal and repeal referendums, the direct election of the Ombudsman, the institution of participatory budgeting and a "bound" mandate for public administrators and open primaries.

V-Days[edit]

V-Day in Bologna, 2007

On 14 June 2007, Grillo launched the idea of Vaffanculo Day (Fuck-off Day), or simply V-Day, a day of public mobilisation for the collection of signatures required to submit a law of popular initiative that seeks to introduce preferences in the current electoral law and to prevent the nomination as parliamentary candidates of recipients of criminal convictions or of those who have already completed two terms in office.[49] The meeting was held in Bologna.

The choice of the name of the event, V-Day, had a fourfold reference: the first to the Normandy landings of the Allies in Normandy during World War II to symbolise how Italian citizens would "invade" bad policy; the second to the motion picture V for Vendetta (whose symbol is also referred to in the logo of the movement) which the movement refers to often with its principles of political renewal; the third to the interjection "Fuck you" given to bad policy; and the fourth is a reference to the number five as a Roman numeral.

V-Day, which continued the "Clean Parliament" initiative promoted by Grillo since 2006, took place in many Italian cities the following 8 September, the date chosen to evoke the state of confusion besetting the state as at 8 September 1943 Badoglio Proclamation. On that day, 336,000 signatures were collected, far exceeding the 50,000 required for the filing of a law of popular initiative. For the occasion, Michele Serra coined the term grillismo.[50]

V2-Day was organised for 25 April 2008, a second day of action aimed at collecting signatures for three referendums. On 29 and 30 September 2007 in Lucca, several members of the meetups and local civic lists, in the initial wake of the discussions started on the net and in the wake of the previous meeting of Perugia, define the policies for the establishment of civic lists. On 10 October 2007, Grillo gave guidance on how to create the civic lists.[51]

Five Star Civic Lists[edit]

On 3 December 2008, Grillo presented the symbol of the Five Star Civic Lists for the 2009 local elections. Logo in the "V" of "citizenship" is a reference to V-Day[52] On 17 February 2009 in Bologna, a gathering of civic lists discussed the future of the movement and the coming elections. In particular, Sonia Alfano consulted with the activist base of the movement about her possible candidacy for the European Parliament as an independent candidate with the Italy of Values list.

On 8 March 2009, the first national meeting of the Five Star Civic Lists was held in Florence. Here, Grillo had the Charter of Florence, bone joint 12-point program of the various local civic lists in the afternoon, about twenty local groups present their ideas and experiences. In April, Grillo announced a letter of Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz in which he declares to look carefully at the experience of local civic lists promoted through the blog.[53]

On 29 March 2009, Grillo announced that in the upcoming European elections he would support Luigi de Magistris and Sonia Alfano (figures close to the movement) as independent candidates in the lists of Italy of Values, together with the journalist Carlo Vulpio (also close to the movement).[54] On 11 June, De Magistris and Alfano, candidates in all five constituencies, were elected to the European Parliament, resulting in the first and second preferences (of 419 000 and 143 000). In the same election, as stated by Beppe Grillo, 23 councilors were elected from the Five Star Civic Lists, especially in the municipalities of Emilia-Romagna in central Italy.[55]

On 9 September 2009, the launch of the "National Five Star Movement", inspired by the ideologies of the Charter of Florence, was announced.[56]

Along with Gianroberto Casaleggio at the Emerald Theatre in Milan on 4 October 2009, Grillo declared the birth of the Five Star Movement and presented a programme.[57]

2010–2012 regional and local elections[edit]

During the 2010 regional elections, the M5S obtained notable results in the five regions where it ran a candidate for President: Giovanni Favia gained 7.0% of the vote in Emilia-Romagna (6.0% for the list, with two regional councilors elected), Davide Bono 4.1% in Piedmont (3.7%, two councilors), David Borrelli 3.2% in Veneto (2.6%, no councilors), Vito Crimi 3.0% in Lombardy (2.3%, no councilors) and Roberto Fico 1.3% in Campania (1.3%, no councilors).[58]

At the local elections on 15 and 16 May 2011, the M5S was present in 75 of the 1,177 municipalities in the vote,[59] including 18 of the 23 provincial capitals called to vote. In the first round, the M5S entered its representatives in 28 municipalities (for a total of 34 elected councilors) and often resulting in some important decisive ballots.[60] Its best results were in the cities and towns of the center-north, especially in Emilia-Romagna (where the list achieved a share of the vote of between 9% and 12% in Bologna, Rimini and Ravenna) and Piedmont while in the south it rarely obtained 2% of the vote.

In the regional elections in Molise on 16 and 17 October 2011, the M5S had its own candidate for the presidency and its own list. The list received 2.27% of the votes and the presidential candidate garnered 5.60% of the vote, but the movement achieved no seats.[61]

At the 2012 local elections, the M5S did well in several cities of the North, notably in Genoa (14.1%),[62] Verona (9.5%),[63] Parma (19.9%),[64] Monza (10.2%),[65] and Piacenza (10.0%).[66] In the small Venetian town of Sarego, the M5S's candidate was elected mayor with 35.2% of the vote (there is no run-off in towns with less than 15,000 inhabitants).[67] In the run-offs the party won the mayorships of Parma (60.2%),[64] Mira (52.5%),[68] and Comacchio (69.2%).[69] After the election, the party consistently scored around 15–20% nationally in opinion polls, frequently ahead of The People of Freedom and second just to the Democratic Party.

In the Sicilian regional elections of 2012, the M5S fielded Giancarlo Cancelleri as candidate. The campaign kicked off with Grillo's arrival in Messina on 10 October swimming from the mainland.[70][71] In the election, Cancelleri came third with 18.2% of the vote while the M5S was the most voted for party at 14.9%, obtaining 15 seats out of 90 in the Regional Assembly in a very fragmented political landscape.[72] However, the election was characterised by a low participation as only 47.4% of eligible voters turned out to vote.[73]

2013 general election[edit]

On 29 October 2012, Grillo announced guidelines for candidates wishing to stand in the 2013 general election.[74][75] For the first time in Italy, the candidates were chosen by party members through an online primary, which took place 3 to 6 December.[76]

On 12 December 2012, Grillo expelled two leading members from the party: Giovanni Favia, regional councillor of Emilia-Romagna; and Federica Salsi, municipal councillor in Bologna, for breaking the party's rules. The former had talked about the lack of democracy within the party while the latter had taken part in a political talk show on Italian television, something that was discouraged and later forbidden by Grillo.[77]

On 22 February 2013, a large crowd of 800,000 people attended Grillo's final rally before the 2013 general election in Piazza San Giovanni in Rome.[78] On 24 and 25 February 2013, the M5S contested all Italian constituencies: Grillo was listed as head of the coalition, although he was not an electoral candidate. The vote for M5S in the Chamber of Deputies reached 25.55% of the vote in Italy and 9.67% for overseas voters, a total of 8,784,499 votes, making it the second most voted-for list after the Democratic Party (which acquired 25.42% of the votes in Italy and 29.9% abroad, or 8,932,615 votes), electing 108 deputies. The M5S vote for the Senate was 23.79% in Italy and 10% abroad, a total of 7,375,412 votes, second only to the Democratic Party (which garnered 8,674,893 votes), electing 54 Senators. The party gained a higher share of the vote than was predicted by any of the opinion polls. The M5S won 25.6% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies, more than any other single party. However, both the Italy Common Good centre-left coalition, dominated by the Democratic Party; and the centre-right alliance, centred on The People of Freedom, obtained more votes as coalitions.[79][80] The M5S was the largest party in the Abruzzo, Marche, Liguria, Sicily and Sardinia.[61]

On 21 March 2013, Luigi Di Maio was elected Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies with 173 votes. Aged 26, he was the youngest Vice President of the house to date.[81][82][83]

2014 European election[edit]

Competing in its first European election, the M5S won second place at the national level 2014 European Parliament elections, receiving 21.15% of the vote and returning 17 Members of the European Parliament (MEP).[84]

Beppe Grillo addressed the crowd in Rome, 2014

In the run-up to the 8th parliamentary term, the M5S lacked a European affiliation and sought a European parliament group. Initial negotiations were held with Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) co-president Nigel Farage and The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA).[85][86] On 4 June 2014, The Greens/EFA rejected Grillo's attempts to obtain group membership.[87] On 11 June 2014, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group rejected M5S as a potential affiliate in a statement citing M5S's perceived Euroscepticism and populism.[88] In an online referendum offered to M5S members on 12 June 2014, the choice of European Parliament affiliation offered were Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), or to become Non-Inscrits.[89] Party activists voted by 78.1% to join the EFD group.[90] On 18 June 2014, it was announced that the EFD group had enough MEPs to continue into the 8th European Parliament term.[91] On 24 June 2014, M5S MEP David Borrelli was chosen as the group's new co-president and the EFD group name was amended to Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) for the upcoming parliament.[92][93] The EFDD group lost its official group status on 16 October 2014 after the defection of Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule until Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz joined the group four days later.[94]

On 17 November 2015, after an online poll in which 40,995 people took part the movement changed its logo to replace the URL of co-founder Beppe Grillo (beppegrillo.it) with the official movement URL.[95] The other option was to remove Grillo's URL entirely, replacing it with nothing. The grounds of the removal of Grillo's name was "the 5 Star Movement is mature enough and is preparing to govern Italy, so I believe it's correct not to associate it to a name anymore".[96]

Gianroberto Casaleggio's death[edit]

The movement's founder and main strategist Gianroberto Casaleggio died on 12 April 2016 in Milan at the age of 61 after a long period of illness due to brain cancer.[97] After his death, his son Davide was appointed as the president of Casaleggio Associati and took his father's office as leader and strategist of the M5S.[98]

2018 general election[edit]

In the 2018 general election held on 4 March 2018, neither of the three main groupings (the M5S, the centre-right coalition and the Democratic Party-led centre-left) obtained a majority of seats in Parliament, although the M5S became the largest individual party, with 32.7% of the vote and 227 seats in the Chamber. In May, the M5S entered into coalition talks with the Lega Nord. The talks resulted in the proposal for a so-called Government of Change under the leadership of Giuseppe Conte, a law professor close to the M5S.[99] The formation of the cabinet initially failed on 27 May as President Sergio Mattarella did not agree on the appointment of Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy and Finances due to Savona's perceived Euroscepticism.[100][101]

Ideology[edit]

In the M5S, converge themes derived from ecological and anti-particracy promoting the direct participation of citizens in the management of public affairs through forms of digital democracy. The movement wants to be a "democratic encounter outside of party and associative ties and without the mediation of directive or representational organisms, recognising to all users of the Internet the role of government and direction that is normally attributed to a few".[102] From the economic point of view, it embraces the theories of degrowth, supporting the creation of "green jobs" and the rejection of polluting and expensive "great works", including incinerators and high-speed rail, aiming to an overall better quality of life and greater social justice.[103] The M5S proposes the adoption of large-scale energy projects, elimination of waste, sustainable mobility, protection of territory from overbuilding and teleworking.[104] The movement's political discourse often refers to the Internet as a solution to many social, economic and environmental problems. This approach bears similarities with North American cyber-utopianism and the Californian Ideology.[105]

Direct democracy[edit]

The movement bases its principles on direct democracy as an evolution of representative democracy. The idea is that citizens will no longer delegate their power to parties (considered old and corrupted intermediates between the state and themselves) that serve the interests of lobby groups and financial powers. They will succeed only by creating a collective intelligence made possible by the Internet.[102]

In order to go in this direction, the M5S chose its Italian and European parliamentary candidates through online voting by registered members of Beppe Grillo's blog.[106][107] Through an application called Rousseau reachable on the web,[108] the registered users of M5S discuss, approve or reject legislative proposals (submitted then in the Parliament by the M5S group). For example, the M5S electoral law was shaped through a series of online voting,[109] like the name of the M5S candidate for President of the Republic.[110] The choice to support the abolition of a law against immigrants was taken online by members of the M5S even if the final decision was against the opinion of Grillo and Casaleggio.[111] The partnership with the UK Independence Party was also decided by online voting, although the given options for the choice of European Parliament group for M5S were limited to Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and "Stay independent" (Non-Inscrits). The option of joining the Greens/EFA group was discussed, but this option was not available at the time of the voting due to that group's prior rejection of the M5S.[87][112]

Politics is not a career[edit]

One of the most important rules of M5S is that politics is a temporary service: no one who has already been elected twice at any level (local or national) can be a candidate again and has to go back to his or her original job.[102] Another feature of the movement is the so-called "zero-cost politics",[31] according to which politics must not become a career and way to make money. Belonging to the movement requires the self-reduction of salaries of the citizens elected.[113][114] The movement also rejects campaign contributions. In the regional elections in Sicily in 2012, the Sicilian wing of the M5S also decided to allocate the money saved by the reduction of the salaries of their elected in a fund for micro-credit to help small and medium enterprises.[115] In the general elections of 2013, the M5S claimed to have rejected over €42 million of public electoral refunds,[116] supporting its expenses for the campaign with crowdfunding through the blog.[117][118]

No criminal records[edit]

In order to be M5S candidates, citizens must be without any criminal records.[102] The party also supports initiatives to ban politicians with criminal records from being elected. Among the greater political battles of M5S is the ethical commitment to a greater simplicity and transparency to counter the practice of holding two or more positions,[119][120] which show the intricate conflicts of interest between any organization, subsequently strengthened by public register[121] to avoid centralizations that are nepotistic and clientelistic.[122] The no-criminal-record rule currently prevents the M5S's founder Beppe Grillo from running for office in view of an old conviction for manslaughter as the court found Grillo guilty because he was the driver in a car crash.

Same-sex marriage[edit]

On 15 July 2012, Grillo publicly expressed his support for same-sex marriage[123] while the subject was discussed in the National Assembly.[124] In offering his support to marriage between homosexual citizens, Grillo broke his silence on the subject because observers speculated about him opposing same-sex marriage.[125]

On 28 October 2014, an online referendum took place among the activists of the M5S on the recognition of same-sex civil partnerships: 21,360 voted yes and 3,908 voted no.[126] In February 2016, the M5S decided not to officially back the proposal of recognition of stepchild adoption for same sex civil partnerships, refusing to take an official stand and gave its parliamentarians freedom of vote on the matter.[127]

No alliances[edit]

Grillo's campaign has an unwillingness to form alliances as a result of his own refusal to be associated or characterized as any of the older political families including the centre-left and centre-right. As the government itself is made up of both centre-left and centre-right parties, the M5S has had difficulties coming to agreement with any of the other parties. Despite the different views within the party, the issues on which the movement agrees keep the party intact through advocating the main five principles of the M5S.[128]

A Tecné poll in the aftermath of the 2018 Italian general election suggested that 56% of M5S voters preferred a government coalition between M5S and Lega Nord. A coalition between the M5S and the centre-right coalition as a whole was preferred by only 4%. 22% preferred a coalition between the M5S, the centre-left coalition led by the Democratic Party along with the hard-left Free and Equal. A technocratic government was only supported by 1% of the M5S's voters.[129]

Immigration[edit]

The M5S's position on immigration has been ambiguous, but Grillo wrote on his blog on 23 December 2016 that all illegal immigrants should be expelled from Italy, that Schengen should be temporarily suspended in the event of a terrorist attack until the threat has been removed and that there should be revision of the Dublin Regulation.[130][131] On 21 April 2017, Grillo published a piece questioning the role that non-governmental organizations operating rescue ships off Libya are playing in the migrant crisis, asking where are they getting their money and strongly suggesting they may be aiding traffickers.[132] On 5 August 2017, Luigi Di Maio, who led the M5S in the 2018 election, called for "an immediate stop to the sea-taxi service" bringing migrants to Europe.[133]

Vaccination[edit]

The Five-Star Movement has strong links to anti-vaccination activists, and party leaders have called for rolling back mandatory vaccination laws.[134][135]

European affiliation[edit]

About the politics of the European Union and the Euro, the M5S has often been highly critical, but like on other issues its position is ambiguous. On 12 June 2014, the M5S having been rejected by both the Greens/EFA,[136] and the ALDE[137] European Parliament groups, offered its activists a limited-choice online referendum to choose a group for the party in which 78% of participating activists voted for the Eurosceptic EFDD.[138][90]

On January 2017, the M5S tried to change its group inside the European Parliament, moving from the EFDD to the ALDE. Despite an initial agreement, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt refused the M5S' adhesion to the group due to insufficient guarantees to come to a common position on European integration.[139] The attempted move caused a chilling of relations with EFDD leader Nigel Farage, who was not informed about the M5S' agreement with the ALDE.[140] Grillo was highly critical of the rejection and blamed "the establishment" for preventing them joining the ALDE.[141] On 9 January, the Radio Radicale news correspondent David Carretta published documents about fiscal and political benefits which would have accrued to the M5S for its adhesion to ALDE on Twitter.[142]

In December 2017, the M5S electoral leader Luigi Di Maio stated that he supported a referendum for Italy to leave the Eurozone and would vote to leave.[143] However, he rejected his previous position in January 2018,[144] refusing the idea of a referendum on the Euro, which was previously strongly supported by the movement.[145] In February 2018, Di Maio also stated that "European Union is the Five Star Movement's home".[146]

Criticism[edit]

During the 2010 Italian elections, some parties highlighted a contradiction between the voluntary collective action in the struggles of civil society and openness in political representation[147][148][149] Also in 2010, there were tensions between the movement and Italy of Values.[150]

Beppe Grillo (on the right) with Giovanni Favia (on the left), who was expelled from the movement in 2011

In March 2012, the city councillor in Rimini, Valentino Tavolazzi advocated a national meeting on behalf of the movement,[151][152] which gathered about 150 participants. At the meeting, there was both praise and criticism from the participants including from the few politicians who were present at the convention.[153] The meeting took a harsh stance on the "conditions of Regulation M5S" because it was discovered to be in conflict with the statutes of its Civic Party of origin Project for Ferrara. In response, they lost the use of the logo[154][155] and were banned from taking any position on behalf of M5S, which was portrayed as a controversial move regarding internal democracy.[156][157][158]

Since 2007, Grillo has criticized the cost of politics by supporting the reduction of payment for deputies and senators.[159] Based on this policy, the benefits received by members of parliament would not exceed €5,000 gross per month, with any surplus returned to the state with solidarity allowance (also called end-term). However, according to the regional director of the M5S Giovanni Favia the deduction of €5,000 gross salary of parliamentarians is contrary to the principles of the movement as it would result in a reduction of only €2,500 net. In an interview which was published in several newspapers in November 2012, Favia estimated at €11,000 per month the fees prescribed for a member of M5S, even though it does not explain how it got to deduct that amount because it necessarily includes reimbursements and per diem is not flat as costs and expenses which vary from member to member.[160]

Following the expulsion of Giovanni Favia and Federica Salsi for expressing views about the lack of internal democracy, the party has expelled several members for criticisms.[161][162] The expulsions were made unilaterally by Grillo and as per regulation took place without prior consultation with members of the movement.[163][164][165]

Another criticism frequently made by the same movement activists and former activists, such as Federico Pistono, social entrepreneur and author of Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy and former member,[166] is about the absence of any form of effective participation on the web.[167] There is a tool for collective writing of the program and the proposed laws, but the forum is considered inadequate for the purpose.[168][169] Through his blog in September 2012, Grillo said that a portal to participate via the web was already under construction.[170] The triggering was scheduled for the end of the year 2012, but at the time of the elections of February 2013 it was not yet realized.

On 28 January 2014, Giorgio Sorial, a deputy of the M5S, accused President Giorgio Napolitano of being a hangman who repressed opponents.[171][172] Prime Minister Enrico Letta immediately defended President Napolitano, charging the M5S with being extremists.[173] The following day, Angelo Tofalo, another deputy of the movement, ended his speech at the Chamber of Deputies by shouting Boia chi molla! ("Hangman who gives up!") a famous motto used during the Fascist era.[174][175] Often the movement's members, especially its leader Beppe Grillo, have been accused of being too vulgar and (verbally) violent.[176][177]

After a M5S demonstration inside the Chamber of Deputies against a law approved by the government,[178][179] caused a brawl between the M5S, the centrist Civic Choice, the right-wing Brothers of Italy and the centre-left Democratic Party.[180] Following insults to the President of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini,[181] Italian journalist Corrado Augias stated on 31 January 2014 that the violence used by the M5S reminded him of fascism.[182] The following day, a militant activist of the M5S burned some books of Augias and uploaded the photos to his Facebook profile because according to him "Augias offended the movement".[183] This episode was readily taken up by major national newspapers and heavily criticized by public opinion due to some similarities with Nazi book burnings.[184] Grillo criticized the action, saying that the person who uploaded the photos did not represent the movement.[185]

On 4 March 2018, Piera Aiello was elected Member of Parliament for the Chamber of Deputies within the M5S as she had won 51 per cent of the majority vote in her constituency in Sicily despite being unable to publicly campaign and meet voters.[186] Aiello's campaign mainly consisted of television interviews and she kept her identity hidden throughout the television appearances. One Italian newspaper claimed "it was the culmination of a surreal election campaign". Aiello, who had been living under police protection since 1991, is the widow of a gunned-down Sicilian Mafia member.[187]

Electoral results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2013 8,691,406 (#1) 25.6
109 / 630
Increase 109 Beppe Grillo
2018 10,732,066 (#1) 32.7
227 / 630
Increase 119 Luigi Di Maio
Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2013 7,285,648 (#2) 23.8
54 / 315
Increase 54 Beppe Grillo
2018 9,733,928 (#1) 32.2
112 / 315
Increase 58 Luigi Di Maio

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2014 5,807,362 (#2) 21.2
17 / 73
Beppe Grillo

Regional Councils[edit]

Region Latest election # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
Aosta Valley 2018 6,652 (#5) 10.44
4 / 35
Increase 2
Piedmont 2014 396,295 (#2) 20.3
8 / 50
Increase 8
Lombardy 2018 933,243 (#3) 17.8
13 / 80
Increase 4
South Tyrol 2013 7,097 (#7) 2.5
1 / 35
Increase 1
Trentino 2013 13,877 (#6) 5.8
2 / 35
Increase 2
Veneto 2015 192,630 (#4) 10.4
5 / 51
Increase 5
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2018 29,810 (#4) 7.1
4 / 49
Decrease 1
Emilia-Romagna 2014 159,456 (#3) 13.3
5 / 50
Increase 3
Liguria 2015 120,147 (#2) 22.9
6 / 30
Increase 6
Tuscany 2015 200,771 (#3) 15.1
5 / 41
Increase 5
Marche 2015 100,202 (#2) 18.9
5 / 30
Increase 5
Umbria 2015 51,203 (#2) 14.5
2 / 20
Increase 2
Lazio 2018 559,752 (#1) 22.1
10 / 50
Increase 3
Abruzzo 2014 143,779 (#2) 21.4
6 / 31
Increase 6
Molise 2018 45,886 (#1) 31.6
6 / 21
Increase 4
Campania 2015 387,327 (#3) 17.0
7 / 49
Increase 7
Apulia 2015 275,114 (#2) 16.3
7 / 51
Increase 7
Basilicata 2013 21,219 (#3) 9.0
2 / 21
Increase 2
Calabria 2014 38,345 (#8) 4.9
0 / 30
Sicily 2017 513,359 (#1) 26.7
20 / 70
Increase 5
Sardinia 2014 N/A N/A
0 / 60

Leadership[edit]

Symbols[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Bigi Alessandro, Bonera Michelle, Bal Anjali (2015) Evaluating political party positioning over time: a proposed methodology. Journal of Public affairs, DOI: 10.1002.
  • De Rosa, Rosanna (2013). Voice of the People or Cybercratic Centralism? The Italian case of Beppe Grillo and Movimento Cinque Stelle. Edition Donau-Universität Krems. pp. 89–102. 
  • Lanzone, Maria Elisabetta (2014). The "Post-Modern" Populism in Italy: The Case of the Five Star Movement. Emerald Group. pp. 53–78. 
  • Musiani, Francesca (2014). Avant-garde: Digital Movement or "Digital Sublime" Rhetoric? The Movimento 5 Stelle and the 2013 Italian Parliamentary Elections. Springer. pp. 127–140. 
  • Sæbø, Øystein; Braccini, Alession Maria; Federici, Tommaso (2015). From the Blogosphere into Real Politics: The Use of ICT by the Five Star Movement. Springer. pp. 241–250. 
  • Tronconi, Filippo (2015). Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement. Organisation, Communication and Ideology. Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4724-3663-4. 

External links[edit]