Grillo's 5-Star Movement starts Senate sit-in

'We will read Constitution to protest commissions'

Grillo's 5-Star Movement starts Senate sit-in

Rome, April 9 - Senators belonging to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) started a sit-in inside the Senate Tuesday to protest against the failure to launch the Italian parliament's commissions after February's inconclusive general election. M5S Senate Whip Vito Crimi confirmed that MPs would occupy the Senate until just after midnight. "We will stay on the floor and read the Constitution and the rules of the Senate," he said. House members of the M5S have vowed to do the same. The M5S holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a huge protest vote in February but has refused to make any deals with the established parties on forming a new government, which has led to political deadlock. M5S leader Beppe Grillo has said Italy does not need to be in a rush to have a new government, arguing parliament can pass key reforms, such as a new election law to replace the much-criticised one that failed to produce a winner. In the meantime outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat administration can continue to take care of everyday government business, according to comedian-turned-politician Grillo. But Grillo's hopes of seeing parliament operating at close-to-full capacity even without a new government have not come to fruition because the new commissions that are vital for passing laws have not been set up. Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso on Friday said it would not be possible to convene the parliamentary commissions until a new executive has taken over because, until then, it is not "possible to distinguish between the (ruling) majority and the opposition". The M5S is not convinced and the movement's MPs have said they will stay in the parliament after Tuesday's debates until one minute past midnight local time. "We want a fresh beginning with the rules as the staring point," said M5S House Whip Roberta Lombardi. Even though the M5S has contributed to the impasse, Lombardi said the movement was not in favour of returning to the polls in June to break the deadlock, because of the cost of holding another vote so soon after the last one.

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