Rome

Grillo slams 5-Star Movement's presidential candidate

Calls Rodota' 'thawed fresh from the mausoleum'

Grillo slams 5-Star Movement's presidential candidate

Rome, May 30 - Leader of the Italian anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) Beppe Grillo slammed M5S's former presidential candidate on Thursday after the latter criticized Grillo in a newspaper interview. Grillo called the leftwing jurist and politician Stefano Rodota' "an octogenarian miraculously cured by the Internet, thawed fresh from the mausoleum where he was kept by his people with whom we hope to reestablish the left". Thursday marked Rodota's 80th birthday, and in an interview published in the national newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Rodota' said that in local elections this month, "The two great communicators lost: Grillo and Berlusconi," making reference to the M5S leader and the leader of the centre-right. Rodota' also said he "wasn't surprised" by disappointing results for M5S for two reasons. "The first is political. The conflicts, the difficulties and the controversies in recent weeks. The second is that I had said that (integration into parliament) for the 5-Star (Movement) would not be painless," Rodota' told the newspaper. The largely web-based M5S movement, which prides itself on being led by grassroots activists and not professional politicians, surprised expectations in February when it won a quarter of the vote in Italy's general elections, gaining political heft that nearly matched the roughly 30% won by the centre-right and 31% won by the centre-left. But Grillo's ironclad and sometimes vitriolic rejections of repeated overtures made by the centre-left to form a majority alliance led to two months of political stalemate and turmoil during the presidential election in April, during which the M5S insisted on supporting Rodota' against the wishes of the centre-left. The centre-left was then forced to join forces with the centre-right. Together they reelected the 87-year-old outgoing-president Giorgio Napolitano. Napolitano then entrusted Enrico Letta, of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) to form a government based on a grand right-left coalition, which has been in office since late April. Grillo on Thursday went on to express "sincere amazement" to see Rodota', his movement's presidential candidate, "in the front row" among M5S critics, and said, with irony, "We wish him a great career in reestablishing the left".

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