The Five Star Movement celebrated an historic victory in the Italian parliamentary elections. In tough coalition talks, top candidate Luigi di Maio has been under consideration for the job as prime minister. But what does the movement stand for?
The Five Star movement defines itself as grassroots and post-ideological. Its program of environmentalism, criticism of Italian refugee policy and the promise of financial aid for the socially disadvantaged appeals to both right and left-wing voters. A camera team accompanied the populist "anti-system party" on the campaign trail. Its core voters are in southern Italy, where unemployment is high and average incomes are low. Salvatore Micillo, who won 58 per cent of the votes cast in his constituency north of Naples, says, "Populism means addressing the people, and that's not bad: it's more about providing answers. The promise of a basic income of € 780 is intended to signal our intention of looking after our citizens. It doesn’t mean letting them stay at home, it means that the state will take you under its wing, protect you, give you work and trys to train you.” The candidates themselves project an image of modesty. "The ultimate goal of politics is not to do extraordinary things, but to prevent crap from happening," proclaims Party founder Beppe Grillo. But is the "MoVimento 5 Stelle" really ready for the responsibilities of government?