Rome

Italian comic Grillo won't ally with Di Pietro

'The Five Star Movement wants to replace the party system'

Italian comic Grillo won't ally with Di Pietro

Rome, November 6 - Italian comic Beppe Grillo said Tuesday his rising anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) would not ally with Clean Hands magistrate Antonio Di Pietro or his embattled anti-graft Italy of Values (IdV) party. "Antonio Di Pietro has my friendship," said Grillo on his blog. "But the M5S will not ally with the IdV nor with anyone else. The M5S wants to replace the party system with direct democracy". His announcement came after an unexpected endorsement last week for Di Pietro as the next Italian president, after Giorgio Napolitano steps down next year. Grillo applauded the former anti-corruption magistrate as "the only parliamentarian to stand up to (ex-premier Silvio) Berlusconi" over the years. But Di Pietro faces his own corruption accusations, which became national news after investigative program Report last week explored allegations into the possible misuse of party funds to build a large property portfolio. Di Pietro, who denies any wrongdoing, founded his party after spearheading the famous Clean Hands investigations into political corruption in the early 1990s, which exposed the Bribesville system, shaking Italian politics to its core. Claiming to be the victim of an organized smear campaign, Di Pietro faces suggestions of being no better than the crooks he set out to rein in while his party is showing signs of fraying. On Monday, the House whip of his party resigned after publicly comparing "the decline" of Di Pietro to that of Berlusconi, and accused him of knowingly "scrapping" the party. "He has betrayed his own history and in recent months has messed everything up," said Donadi.

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