Italy: populist Five Star Movement lurks in the wings

Five Star Movement activists at a rally
Palermo, Sept. 25, 2016: A public rally during the Five Star Movement’s national meeting was attended by thousands (source: dpa)
  • The anti-establishment Five Star Movement has the second biggest support of any party
  • It opposes capitalist modernity – other than the internet – and the anti-capitalist slogan of “happy degrowth” often pops up in their rhetoric
  • Italy is going to the polls on December 4, formally to decide on a constitutional reform promoted by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Should Mr. Renzi lose, M5S is positioned to take power

Donald Trump’s triumph in the United States presidential elections may mark a turning point for European anti-establishment movements; it is becoming more difficult to dismiss them as merely motley collections of naysayers. Having failed to predict Mr. Trump’s victory, many argue that the time of the “deplorable” may now be upon us.

The next big shake-up may come from the Italian Five Star Movement – also known as the Movement or M5S. Italy is going to the polls on December 4, formally to decide on a constitutional reform promoted by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and passed by parliament. In fact, the survival of Mr. Renzi’s government is the real issue; he has bet his political capital on the vote.

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