Rome

Grillo berates rebel Senators, says M5S fell into trap

Comic-turned-politician says movement's 'rules at stake'

Grillo berates rebel Senators, says M5S fell into trap

(see related story) Rome, March 18 - Beppe Grillo on Monday again berated the handful of Senators from his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) who defied orders and voted for the centre left's candidate for Senate speaker on Saturday. In the first rounds of voting the Senators belonging to the M5S, which holds the balance of power in the Upper House after capturing a massive protest vote last month, backed their own candidate. But when it came to Saturday's run-off between the two frontrunners, some M5S Senators opted to back the centre-left's man, former chief anti-Mafia judge Pietro Grasso, rather than run the risk of seeing Renato Schifani, the candidate of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre right, keeping the job he held in the previous parliamentary term. Comedian-turned-politician Grillo says the established parties are part of a corrupt, malfunctioning system that he wants to revolutionise and has refused to cooperate with them after claiming the balance of power in parliament with a spectacular showing in last month's general election. He said the M5S rebels had broken the movement's rule to stick with the line agreed by the majority and shown political immaturity too. "The choice between Schifani and Grasso was an impossible one," Grillo wrote on his long-standing blog, which gave life to the Internet-based M5S in 2009. "It was a question of deciding between the bubonic plague and a bad cold... "The game had already been organised to put the 5-Star Movement in trouble. Some people, in good faith, fell into it. "The same pattern will be repeated in the future. Berlusconi will propose unacceptable people, the (centre-left) PD (Democratic Party) will give a fig leaf. "The M5S must not fall into these traps. Anyway the problem isn't Grasso. If, for example, the majority of the M5S Senators had decided to vote for Grasso and everyone had stuck by the decision, there wouldn't be any case to answer. "What's at stake isn't Grasso, but the respect of the M5S's rules".

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