Rome

Center-left MPs slam Thorne's pro-M5S speech to students

New media good for Italian politics, Thorne tweets in response

Center-left MPs slam Thorne's pro-M5S speech to students

Rome, March 13 - Center-left MPs on Wednesday slammed US Ambassador David Thorne's speech to Roman high school students in which he held up rabble-rousing comic Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) as an example to follow. The M5S rose a huge protest vote in the recent general election to become the single biggest party in the House and hold the balance of power in the Senate. ''You can take your country in hand and act, like the 5-Star Movement, for reform and change'', Thorne told students at Rome's Visconti high school earlier today. ''If confirmed, the ambassador's speech would be tantamount to grave interference in Italian affairs'', said newly elected MP Michele Anzaldi, who is from the Democratic Party (PD). He went on to call on Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi to demand an explanation from the US State Department. ''Thorne's comments were misplaced and made with deplorable levity'', newly elected MP Rosa Maria Di Giorgi (PD) echoed him. ''If confirmed, Thorne's words amount to a diplomatic incident. I hope the US State Department will immediately distance itself from the ambassador's statement''. ''The US Embassy does not support any political party. It dialogues with everyone and supports the use of social media as a tool for change'', the US embassy tweeted in response. ''My words have sparked interest. New media use is positive for the Italian political system'', Thorne himself tweeted, while Grillo proudly posted the ambassador's speech on his blog.

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