Grillo requests Napolitano meeting, blasts govt

Anti-establishment M5S leader says Letta govt waste of time

Grillo requests Napolitano meeting, blasts govt

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, July 2 - Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), on Tuesday blasted Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government as a waste of time and requested a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano. Comedian-turned-politician Grillo's Internet-based movement tapped into public disenchantment with the political class to claim around a quarter of the vote in February's general election. But it has been in turmoil of late over the amount of internal debate and dissent allowed after several M5S lawmakers abandoned the movement. The M5S has also dropped in the opinion polls and performed badly at a recent round of local elections, and this had been blamed in part on Grillo's refusal to negotiate with the other parties after February's vote failed to produce a clear winner. This meant Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was forced to form an alliance with its bitter rivals in ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party in April to form a government to end two months of deadlock. But Letta's executive looks fragile and its efforts to lift Italy out of its longest recession since World War II have been hampered by divisions between the PD and the PdL. Indeed, Letta's predecessor Mario Monti said Sunday that his small Civic Choice party would withdraw its support for the government if it fails to move up a gear. Although Monti's party is not big enough to sink the administration, the threat is seen as indicative of its problems. Grillo went further than Monti Tuesday, saying the "real aim" of the people in government was "to buy time, like convicts on death row". "We are heading towards an economic catastrophe and no one in the government, in the (other) parties, in the public institutions has the courage to denounce this, to do something," Grillo said on his popular blog, which gave life to the M5S in 2009. "Napolitano should go on television, at prime time in the evening, and speak to the nation. "He should tell the truth about the state of the economy, the measures we'll have to take, the enormous sacrifices that await us". He added that Napolitano should oblige parliament to abolish the much-criticised election law, which gave an inconclusive outcome in February, and then dissolve parliament. "This agony cannot go on," he concluded. "I request a meeting with Napolitano". Napolitano's office said it had not received a formal request for the meeting from Grillo and therefore could not consider the call. The M5S, meanwhile, said it will hold a 'Restitution Day' outside the Lower House on Thursday to celebrate the money its lawmakers are returning to the State. The movement refuses public financing and its parliamentarians, political novices elected via online polls, pledged to return the part of their salary above that of an ordinary Italian worker as well as the unused part of the expense account each MP receives. It said M5S lawmakers have returned 1.5 million euros to the State in this way since being elected in February. In May Letta's executive presented a bill to phase out public funding of parties over three years, in part in response to the attention the M5S devoted to the issue after a series of corruption scandals hit groups from all sides of the political spectrum. Grillo called Letta's pledge to scrap public funding of parties a "bluff", as a small fraction of each individual taxpayer's money will be split among parties automatically unless the person explicitly declares on their tax return that it should not go to a political party. Grillo has said the M5S has rejected 42 million euros in public financing simply by not requesting it.

Lascia il tuo commento

Condividi le tue opinioni su Gazzetta del Sud online

Caratteri rimanenti: 400

Le altre notizie

i più letti di oggi