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Beppe Grillo unites one quarter of all Italian voters
Who is Beppe Grillo? Who are the Grillini?
Article added on February 2013 at 15:13 Italian time; last update at 19:48
  
The February 2013 parliamentary election has offered several surprises. In addition to Silvio Berlusconi's return to the political forefront, the big surprise were the 25% of voters who chose the comedian Beppe Grillo (*1948) as their man of hope. His 5-Star-Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, M5S) has for the first time entered the national parliament.

Founded in March 2009, the Five-Star-Movement had already managed to win seats in local and regional parliaments.
The supporters of Beppe Grillo are called Grillini. The mayor of the city of Parma is a Grillino. On May 21, 2012 Federico Pizzarotto (*1973) garnered 60.22% of the vote in this calm city with a total population of 187,000 people. In the first round of the vote, he had only received 19.47%, way behind the center-left candidate Vincenzo Bernazzoli with 39,2%. The win in the runoff election in Parma was the first victory of a M5S candidate in a major city.

On October 28, 2012 the Grillini had already become the surprise winners in the regional election in Sicily. With 14.9% of the vote, the M5S became the strongest party in Sicily.

So far, the Grillini have not come up with a clear party program. Environmental issues, such as access to free and clean water, public transport and waste management have been among the topics high on the M5S agenda. Beppe Grillo has repeatedly agitated “against Europe” and against Italy's growing debt. He has however been less convincing when it comes to offering solutions for problems he addresses. He is widely considered a populist. He does not want to cooperate with any other political party, be it on the right, the center or the left. He considers the entire system rotten. Corruption and privileges of the political class are among his pet issues. He favors more elements of direct democracy in Italian politics. At the same time, he agitates against Italian tax authorities. Traditional parties in Italy and the European Union are among his enemies. In some regards, Grillo is fishing in the same pond as Berlusconi, offering “help” to the Italians who are hiding money from the taxman, who are working on the black market, who are against “the state” in general.

Books about Italian history from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca and Amazon.it. - For sheet music of Italian songs click here. - Libri di e su Beppe Grillo: Amazon.it. - La „bibbia“ dei Grillini di
Gianroberto Casaleggio e Beppe Grillo : Siamo in guerra. Per una nuova politica. Chiarelettere, 2011, 188 pagine. Comprate il libro: Amazon.it.

Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi are populist masters who can win elections. But so far, they have been unable to offer solutions. In February 2013, on his “Tsunami tour”, Beppe Grillo managed to unite some 35.000 (according to police) to 80.000 (according to M5S) people in the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) in Milan. As a former comedian, he knows how to entertain large crowds. Can he deliver? He may be the founder of the Five Star Movement, but he has no intention to become a traditional politician himself. He will not even be part of the new parliament; he was not a candidate.

Beppe Grillo has indeed managed to create a political Tsunami, together in an unholy and unwanted alliance with Silvio Berlusconi. The President of the Chamber, the Lower House of Parliament, Gianfranco Fini, has not been re-elected. He was one of the prominent supporters of the technocrat government of Mario Monti. The former prosecutor Antonio di Pietro, who had helped bring down the Socialist Bettino Craxi in the Clean Hands (Mani puliti) investigation of the 1990s, has not been reelected either. He was a vocal enemy of Silvio Berlusconi to the point that his party, Italia dei valori, was mainly known as the anti-Berlusconi party. At the end of 2012, Antonio di Pietro himself came under scrutiny for allegedly embezzling party funds which he invested in real estate. His image of integrity has been damaged.

In some regards, Beppe Grillo himself is a traditional Italian politician. Like Silvio Berlusconi, he is a charismatic leader. Furthermore, in a first stage of the selection of the candidates on the M5S party list, supporters composed the list through an internet vote. In the end, Beppe Grillo decided on the final list himself.

Beppe Grillo is calling for a referendum on the question whether Italy should remain in the Eurozone. Much like Berlusconi, he had no scruples to accuse Germany of being responsible for Italy's crisis.

Italy's public debt stand at some 126% of GDP. Desperately needed structural reforms have still not been adopted. Italy has no time to waste. Political gridlock could be catastrophic for Italy, the EU and the entire world. Italy is too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-be-rescued.

Will the Grillini be able to transform the Five-Star-Movement into a party of real change? Will they become constructive politicians? - Libri sulla storia italiana.









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