Rome

5-Star Movement leader Grillo meets president

Giorgio Napolitano receives him with co-founder Casaleggio

5-Star Movement leader Grillo meets president

Rome, July 10 - The founder and leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) Beppe Grillo on Wednesday morning arrived at the Quirinale presidential palace for talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. He had requested a meeting in a blog post last week to discuss the country's economic and political crisis. M5S co-founder Gianroberto Casaleggio and the movement's Lower House and Senate whips, Nicola Morra and Riccardo Nuti, are also attending the meeting. In a post on his popular blog which gave life to the M5S in 2009, Grillo said on July 2 that "the country's agony cannot last". The comedian-turned-politician said Italy was "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". "Napolitano should go on television, at prime time in the evening, and speak to the nation," Grillo also wrote. He said the president should force parliament to scrap a much-criticised electoral law which contributed to an inconclusive outcome of national elections in February and then dissolve parliament. Grillo's movement claimed around a quarter of the vote in February's national elections, tapping into public disenchantment with the political class. However it performed badly at a recent round of local elections, which was partly blamed on Grillo's refusal to negotiate with other parties after the national vote. The party has been in turmoil ever since over the amount of internal dissent allowed after a number of M5S lawmakers abandoned the movement.

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