Rome

Senator Gambaro expelled from M5S

Dissident ousted after criticising leader Beppe Grillo

Senator Gambaro expelled from M5S

Rome, June 19 - Dissident 5-Star Movement Senator Adele Gambaro has been expelled from the group after a online vote held on leader Beppe Grillo's blog concluded on Wednesday, with 65.8% against her. Gambaro has been expelled after saying Grillo was a problem for the movement. On Monday the anti-establishment bloc's lawmakers held a preliminary vote to oust Gambaro, who was elected in the M5S's stunning victory at February general elections. Since then, however, the party flopped at recent local elections across Italy in which the center left swept all provincial capitals up for grabs, including Rome. Gambaro said Grillo, whose opposition to compromise with other parties helped prolong a two-month stalemate in parliament earlier this year, had become "a problem for the movement". Grillo subsequently asked her to step down for "damaging his image and the movement's". After she refused, M5S MPs voted Monday to expel her from the party, but the final word was given to the 48,292 party rank and file on the online vote, which closed at 17:00 local time. While a minority, a number of M5S MPs have supported Gambaro, either vocally or by voting to keep her in the movement founded four years ago online by the comic-turned-politician Grillo. The vote may be a defining moment in a movement which had prided itself on unity. Some suspect a formal schism is imminent. On Tuesday another M5S lawmaker, MP Paola Pinna, risked being expelled after party colleagues denounced her for alleging there was a "climate of thought-crime policing" in the movement.

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