Rome

Grillo says M5S politicians youngest, best educated in Italy

'Protest tsunami sweeping the country'

Grillo says M5S politicians youngest, best educated in Italy

Rome, February 28 - Members of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) are some of the youngest and brightest lights in Italy, party leader Beppe Grillo boasted Thursday on his blog. "The tsunami that swept Italian politics has wiped out one of the oldest parliaments in Europe," with an average age of 55 before this week's election, wrote Grillo. That compares poorly with the average age of 37 for newly elected M5S parliamentarians, said Grillo. His party also boasts the highest level of politicians that have completed college - 88%, he said, compared with 67% among members of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and 40% within the Northern League. His post came after the PD, struggling to gain the upper hand in Italy's Senate, made overtures for an alliance with the M5S movement. PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance came first in this week's election but it failed to win a working majority in the Senate because of the votes pulled by three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right bloc and Grillo's M5S. But the PD's overtures were harshly rebuffed Wednesday by Grillo and many members of his anti-establishment movement. Both Grillo, a former comedian, and Berlusconi have been criticised by international skeptics who say neither man is serious about improving conditions in Italy. Earlier this week, the head of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), Peer Steinbrueck, caused a diplomatic kerfuffle when he said that "two clowns" - Berlusconi and Grillo - won Italy's legislative elections. Following the remarks, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano cancelled a scheduled meeting with Steinbrueck, who is the SPD's candidate for chancellor in this year's German federal elections. Napolitano slammed Steinbruek's comments as "completely misplaced, if not worse". Meanwhile, The Economist weekly in London, in its cover story scheduled for publication on Friday, suggested the Italian elections are threatening the future of the common currency. "They should hold the clowns," said the article. "The disastrous elections in Italy is threatening the future of the euro". The cover of its international edition bears an image of Grillo and Berlusconi.

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