Can Italy’s clown-led party run the circus?

Livorno—Their leader has been dubbed the clown prince of Italian politics.
And now the Five Star Movement (M5S) looksset to be given the chance to run the circus by taking control of the country’s capital.
With Virginia Raggi tipped to become Rome’s first female mayor after a run-off vote this weekend, the spotlight has turned to M5S’s performance in smaller cities where it already holds power.
It is a record that is mixed in Parma (population: 200,000) and Livorno (160,000), both of which have had mayors elected on an M5S slate since the last set of local polls in 2014.
“The impression is that the actions of these mayors have led to disappointment.
They raised hopes so highly that they were impossible to be fulfill and inevitably a certain disillusionment set in afterwards,” said Lorenzo De Sio, a professor of political sociology at the Luiss university in Rome.
Founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, Five Star has established itself as the primary opposition force in Italian politics against a backdrop of deep divisions on the right between centrist allies of fading figurehead Silvio Berlusconi and a far right tendency led by the Northern League.
Grillo’s movement insists it belongs to neither left nor right, basing its appeal instead on a call for voters to throw out an established political class it depicts as chronically corrupt and incapable of change.—APP

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