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Five Star Movement

Five Star Movement
MoVimento Cinque Stelle
Leader Beppe Grillo
Directorate[1] Alessandro Di Battista
Luigi Di Maio
Roberto Fico
Carla Ruocco
Carlo Sibilia
Slogan One is worth one
Founded 4 October 2009
Membership  (2014) 87,656[2]
Ideology Populism
International affiliation none
European affiliation none
European Parliament group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy
Colours Yellow, Red and Black
Chamber of Deputies
102 / 630
39 / 315
European Parliament
17 / 73
Politics of Italy
Political parties

The Five Star Movement (Italian: MoVimento Cinque Stelle , M5S) is a political party in Italy started by Beppe Grillo, a popular activist, comedian and blogger, and Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist, on 4 October 2009.[3][4][5] M5S is considered populist,[6][7][8] anti-corruption,[9][10] environmentalist,[10][11] and Eurosceptic.[12][13][14] Grillo himself provocatively referred to his movement as "populist" during a meeting held in Rome on 30 October 2013 with elected M5S senators.[15] This party also advocates participatory democracy,[10] direct democracy,[16][17] E-democracy, free access to the Internet,[18] the principles of "zero-cost politics",[19] nonviolence[20] and degrowth.[21]

Party members stress that the M5S is not a party but a "movement" and it may not be included in the traditional left right paradigm. The "five stars" are a reference to five key issues: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, connectivity, and environmentalism. Beppe Grillo and several party members strongly condemned all recent western wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria) and Italian military and foreign policy.[22][23][24][25]

The M5S is part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament.


  • History 1
    • Meetups 1.1
    • V-Days 1.2
    • Five Star civic lists 1.3
    • 2010–2012 regional and local elections 1.4
    • 2013 general election 1.5
    • 2014 European election 1.6
  • Ideology 2
    • Politics returned to citizens as a "temporary service" 2.1
    • Auto reduction of salary and rejection of public electoral refund 2.2
    • "Clean lists", elimination of multi-tasks and compliance mandates 2.3
    • Civil rights 2.4
  • Criticism 3
  • Electoral results 4
    • Italian Parliament 4.1
    • European Parliament 4.2
    • Regional Councils 4.3
  • Leadership 5
  • Further reading 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



On 16 July 2005 Beppe Grillo offered supporters of the proposals submitted to his blog to adopt social networks to communicate and coordinate local meetings. Coordination of activists through Meetups had already been adopted in 2003 by Howard Dean during the campaign for the primaries of the Democratic Party of the United States.[26] This is how the first 40 meetup "friends of Beppe Grillo", with the initial aim, according to the same Grillo, "have fun, get together and share ideas and proposals for an better world, starting from their own city. And discuss and develop, if you believe, my post "[27] Within the meetup you create thematic working group on topics including "Technology and Innovation", "Press-communication", "critical consumption", "Currency study", "No Incinerators"[28][29] It is from these experiences that is asked Grillo to stand for election primaries for the choice of the Prime Ministerial candidate of the centre-left coalition The Union, provided for October 2005.[30]

On three occasions - 17 December in Turin, 26 March in Piacenza and 16 to 18 June in Sorrento - the representatives of the meetup "Meetup" held meetings nationally in the presence of the Grillo. In these circumstances, proposals are discussed mostly inherent environmental issues such as the replacement of polluting incinerators with the mechanical-biological treatment of waste.[31]

During the fourth national meeting held in [32]


V-Day in Bologna, in 2007.

On 14 June 2007 Beppe Grillo launched the idea of Vaffanculo Day (Fuck you Day), or simply V-Day, a day of public mobilisation for the collection of signatures required to submit a law of popular initiative that seeks to introduce preferences in the current electoral law to prevent the nomination as Parliamentary candidates of recipients of criminal convictions or those who have already completed two terms in office.[33] The meeting was held in Bologna.

The choice of the name of the event, V-Day, of course, is linked to a threefold reference: the first in the D-Day Normandy landing of the Allies during the Second World War, as well as Italian citizens would disembark in life Italian civil from bad policy, and the second to feature film "V for Vendetta" (whose symbol is a reference in the logo of the movement) to which the principles of political renewal refers often the movement and third to the interjection "Fuck you" given to bad policy.

V-Day, which continued the initiative promoted by Beppe Grillo Clean Parliament since 2006, took place in many Italian cities the following 8 September, the date chosen to evoke a state of confusion besetting the state, as at the ' September 8, 1943. Were gathered 336,000 signatures, far exceeding the 50,000 required for the filing of the law of popular initiative. For the occasion, Michele Serra coined the term "grillismo"[34]

In the wake of the success, exceeding the expectations of the organisers, V2-Day was organised for 25 April 2008, a second day of action aimed at collecting signatures for three referendums. On 29 and 30 September 2007 in Lucca several members of MeetUp "Meetup" and lists of local civic, driven initial open discussion in the and in the wake of the previous meeting of Perugia, setting the bar for policies for the establishment of civic lists. On 10 October 2007, Grillo gave guidance on how to create the civic lists[35]

Five Star civic lists

The flag of the Five Star Movement.

On 3 December 2008, Grillo announces the symbol of the Civic Lists at Five Stars for the local elections of 2009. Logo in the "V" of "citizenship" is a reference to V-Day[36] In Bologna, 17 February 2009, a gathering of civic lists discussing the future of the movement and the subsequent elections, in particular, Sonia Alfano consulted with the activist base of the movement about his possible candidacy for the European Parliament as an independent candidate on the Italy of Values list.

On 8 March 2009, the first national meeting of the Five Star Civic Lists was held in Florence. Here Beppe Grillo had the Charter of Florence, bone joint 12-point program of the various local civic lists in the afternoon, about twenty local groups present their ideas and experiences. In April Grillo announced a letter of Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz in which he declares to look carefully at the experience of local civic lists promoted through the blog[37]

On 29 March 2009, Grillo announced that in the upcoming European elections he would support Luigi de Magistris and Sonia Alfano, figures close to the movement as independent candidates in the lists of Italy of Values, together with the journalist Carlo Vulpio, also close to the movement[38] On 11 June and De Magistris is Alfano, candidates in all five constituencies are elected to the European Parliament, resulting in the first and second preferences 419 000 143 000. In the same election, as stated by Beppe Grillo, 23 councilors are elected Civic Lists of Five Star, especially in the municipalities of Emilia-Romagna in central Italy[39]

On 9 September 2009, it was announced the launch of the "National Movement Five Star" inspired by the ideologies of the Charter of Florence[40] Along with Gianroberto Casaleggio to the Emerald Theatre in Milan, 4 October 2009 Beppe Grillo declared the birth of Five Star Movement and ran a programme.[41]

2010–2012 regional and local elections

During the 2010 regional elections the M5S obtained notable results in the five regions where it ran a candidate for President: Giovanni Favia gained 7.0% of the vote in Emilia-Romagna (6.0% for the list, 2 regional councillors elected), Davide Bono 4.1% in Piedmont (3.7%, 2 councillors), David Borrelli 3.2% in Veneto (2.6%, no councillors), Vito Crimi 3.0% in Lombardy (2.3%, no councillors) and Roberto Fico 1.3% in Campania (1.3%, no councillors).[42]

Beppe Grillo held a rally in Turin during the electoral campaign, 2010.

At the local elections on 15 and 16 May 2011, the Movement occurs in 75 of the 1,177 municipalities in the vote,[43] including 18 of the 23 provincial capitals called to vote. In the first round the Movement enters its representatives in 28 municipalities (for a total of 34 elected councilors) and often resulting in some important decisive ballots[44] The best results are in the cities and towns of the center-north, especially in Emilia-Romagna (where the list gets between 9 and 12% in Bologna, Rimini and Ravenna) and Piedmont, while in the south rarely exceeds 2% of the vote.

Regional elections in Molise on 16 and 17 October 2011 had its own candidate for the presidency and its own list, the list received 2.27% of the votes and the presidential candidate the 5.60% of the vote, but no seats[45]

At the 2012 local elections the M5S did well in several cities of the North, notably in Genoa (14.1%),[46] Verona (9.5%),[47] Parma (19.9%),[48] Monza (10.2%),[49] and Piacenza (10.0%).[50] In the small Venetian town of Sarego, the M5S's candidate was elected mayor with 35.2% of the vote (there is no run-off in towns with less than 15,000 inhabitants).[51] In the run-offs the party won the mayorships of Parma (60.2%),[48] Mira (52.5%),[52] and Comacchio (69.2%).[53]

After the election, the party consistently scored around 15-20% nationally in opinion polls, frequently ahead of The People of Freedom and second just to the Democratic Party (see 2013 general election).

At the Sicilian regional elections of 2012 the M5S filed as candidate Giancarlo Cancelleri. The campaign kicked off with Grillo's arrival in Messina on 10 October swimming from the mainland.[54][55] In the election Cancelleri came third with 18.2% of the vote, while the M5S was the most voted party with 14.9%, obtaining 15 seats out of 90 in the Regional Assembly, in a very fragmented political landscape.[56] The election was however characterized by a low participation as only 47.4% of eligible voters effectively turned out to vote.[57]

2013 general election

On 29 October 2012, Grillo announced the guidelines for standing as party candidates in the 2013 general election.[58][59] For the first time in Italy, the candidates were chosen by party members through an online primary between 3 and 6 December.[60]

On 12 December 2012, Grillo expelled two leading members from the party: Giovanni Favia, regional councillor of Emilia-Romagna, and Federica Salsi, municipal councillor in Bologna, due to infringing the rules of the political party. The former had talked about the lack of democracy within the party, while the latter had taken part in a political talk show on Italian television, something that was discouraged and later forbidden by Grillo.[61]

On 22 February 2013, a large crowd of 800,000 people attended the final rally of Beppe Grillo before the 2013 general election, in Piazza San Giovanni in Rome.[62] On 24 and 25 February 2013, M5S contested all Italian constituencies: Beppe Grillo was listed as head of the coalition, although he was not an electoral candidate.

The vote for M5S in the Chamber of Deputies reached 25.55% of the vote in Italy and 9.67% for overseas voters, for a total of 8,784,499 votes, making it the second most voted list after the Democratic Party (which acquired 25.42% of the votes in Italy and 29.9% abroad, or 8,932,615 votes), obtaining 108 deputies. The M5S vote for the Senate was 23.79% in Italy and 10% abroad, for a total of 7,375,412 votes, second only to the PD (which garnered 8,674,893 votes), obtaining 54 Senators. This was a successful election for M5S as the party gained a higher share of the vote than was expected by any of the opinion polls. The M5S won 25.6% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies, more than any other single party. However, both the Italy Common Good centre-left coalition, centred on the Democratic Party, and the centre-right alliance, centred on The People of Freedom, obtained more votes as coalitions.[63][64]

Coupons are also the results of the regional in Lombardy, Lazio and Molise, where candidates acquired the third highest number of votes, and the party won 9 councilors in Lombardy, 2 and 7 in Molise and Lazio. The m5S became the largest party in the Abruzzo, Marche, Liguria, Sicily and Sardinia.[45]

2014 European election

Contesting its first European election, M5S came in second place nationally in the 2014 European Parliament elections, receiving 21.15% of the vote and returning 17 MEPs.[65]

In the run-up to the 8th parliamentary term, M5S was lacking a European affiliation and sought a European parliament group. Initial negotiations were held with Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) co-president Nigel Farage and The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA).[66][67] However, on 4 June 2014, The Greens/EFA rejected Grillo's attempts to obtain group membership.[68] On 11 June 2014, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group rejected M5S as a potential affiliate in a statement citing M5S's perceived Euroscepticism and populism.[69] In an online referendum offered to M5S members on 12 June 2014, the choice of European parliament affiliation offered were Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), or to become Non-Inscrits.[70] Party activists voted by 78.1% to join the EFD group.[71] On 18 June 2014, it was announced that the EFD group had enough MEPs to continue into the 8th European Parliament term.[72] On 24 June 2014, M5S MEP David Borrelli was chosen as the group's new co-president and the EFD group name was amended to Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) for the upcoming parliament.[73][74] The EFDD group lost its official group status on 16 October 2014 after the defection of Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule, until Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz joined the group four days later.[75]


In the Five Star Movement converge themes derived from [76] From the economic point of view, embraces the theories of degrowth supporting the creation of "green jobs" and the rejection of polluting and expensive "great works", including incinerators, aiming to an overall better quality of life and greater social justice.[77] The Five Star Movement proposes the adoption of large-scale energy projects, elimination of waste, sustainable mobility, protection of territory from overbuilding, teleworking.[78]

Politics returned to citizens as a "temporary service"

The movement bases his principle on the direct democracy like an evolution of representative democracy. The idea is that citizens will not delegate anymore their power to parties, considered old and corrupted intermediates between the State and themselves, that serve the interests of lobby groups and financial powers. They will success only if creating a collective intelligence and the Net will make it possible.[76]

The Five Star Movement, in order to go in this direction, choose the Italian and European parliamentary candidates through online voting of Beppe Grillo Blog's registered members.[79][80] Through an application called "Operating System" reachable on the web,[81] the registered users of M5S discuss, approve or reject legislative proposals (submitted then in the Parliament by M5S group). For example, the M5S electoral law was shaped through a series of online voting,[82] like the name of the M5S candidate President of Republic.[83] The choice to support the abolition of a law against immigrants was taken online by members of the M5S even if the final decision was against the opinion of Grillo and Casaleggio.[84]

One of the most important rules of M5S is that politics is a temporary service: no one who has already been elected for more than two times at any level (local or national) can be a candidate again and has to come back to his original job.[76]

Auto reduction of salary and rejection of public electoral refund

Another feature of the movement is the so-called "zero-cost politics",[19] according to which politics must not become a way to make money and career. For this reason, the movement was founded in the symbolic date of 4 October, the day of St. Francis.[85]

Belonging to the Movement requires the autoreduction of salaries of the citizens elected: in some regions such as Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna[86][87] and Sicily[88] the elect allocate part of the salary for purposes relating to the 'political activity of the group (exposed cover, legal fees, appeals to the Administrative Court and the Council of State, etc.)[87]

Likewise the movement intends to reject campaign contributions, Grillo described the reasons for this choice 27 March 2010. In the regional elections in Sicily in 2012, as well as rejecting more than "1 Million Euro in electoral reimbursements", the sicilian MoVement has also decided to allocate the money saved by the reduction of the salaries of their elected in a fund for micro-credit to help small and medium enterprises, from Grillo always been considered the "backbone of Italy".[89]

In the general elections of 2013 the Five Star Movement claims to have rejected over €42 million of public electoral refund[90] (instead of all the other parties), supporting its expenses for the campaign with crowdfunding[91][92] through the blog. The remaining unspent of the collection, approximately €400,000, was donated to the earthquake victims of Mirandola, for the construction of a gym school.[93] However, many critics have reported that the party did not have the right to have refunds at all, because of lacking of a democratic statute required by law.[94][95][96][97][98]

In this context, the principle of zero-cost politics is formalized also with the political initiative of the so-called "Restitution Day" by parliamentarians belonging to the Movement: the first time about €1.5 million of their wages returned and paid into the Amortization Fund of Italian Public Debt,[99] and then €2.5 million returned every 5 month to a fund for micro-credit, set up on purpose at the Ministry of Treasury, in order to help small and medium enterprises, following the M5S Sicilian experience a year earlier.[100][101]

"Clean lists", elimination of multi-tasks and compliance mandates

Among the greater political battles of M5S is the ethical commitment, internally consistent since[102] to a greater simplicity and transparency as possible to counter the use to hold two or more positions[103][104][105] which show the intricate conflicts of interest between any organization, subsequently strengthened by public register[106] to avoid centralizations such as nepotistic and clientelistic.[107][108][109][110] In order to be Five Star Movement candidates, citizens must be without any criminal records (for this reason it requires "clean lists").[76]

Civil rights

The leader of the movement, Grillo, on 15 July 2012, claims to be approving of same sex marriage.[111] The declaration of Grillo was inspired by the discussion of the National Assembly on the subject.[112] In offering his support to gay marriage, Grillo broke a silence on the subject, which some might denote opposition, clarifying the full support of the movement to recognize such marriages.[113]


With the 2010 Italian elections, some parties highlighted a contradiction between the voluntary collective action in the struggles of civil society and openness in political representation[114][115][116] Also in 2010, there were tensions between the movement and Italy of Values.[117]

Beppe Grillo (on the right) with Giovanni Favia (on the left), who was expelled from the movement in 2011.

In March 2012 the city councillor in Rimini Valentino Tavolazzi advocated a national meeting on behalf of the movement,[118][119] gathered about 150 participants, praise and harsh criticism even by those few politicians who were present at the convention,[120] with harsh stance in the content of the meeting about the "conditions of Regulation M5S" because it was discovered to be in conflict with the statutes of its Civic Party of origin "Project for Ferrara". The was officially revoked the use of the logo[121][122] and received the ban from taking any position on behalf of M5S, was perpetuated as a legacy of controversy also internal democracy.[123][124][125]

Since 2007 Grillo criticized the extent of the cost of the policy by entering the Statute of moving an article which provides for the reduction dell'onorario for deputies and senators[126] Based on this policy, the benefits perceived by the member of parliament must not exceed €5,000 gross per month, while any extra will be returned to the State with solidarity allowance (also called end-term). According to the regional director of the Five Star Movement Giovanni Favia, the deduction of €5,000 gross salary of parliamentarians is, however, contrary to the principles of the movement, as it would result in a reduction of only 2,500 euro net. In an interview which was published in several newspapers in November 2012, Favia estimated at €11,000 ero per month the fees prescribed for a member of M5S, even though it does not explain how it got to deduct that amount because it necessarily includes reimbursements and per diem is not flat, employees that is, costs and expenses which vary from member to member.[127]

Following the exclusion of the same Giovanni Favia and Federica Salsi for expressing views about the lack of internal democracy, the party has been expelled from several criticisms and members of the same party[128][129] The expulsions were made unilaterally by the owner of Beppe Grillo and symbol, as per regulation, took place without prior consultation with members of the movement.[130][131][132]

Another criticism frequently by the same movement activists and former activists, such as Federico Pistono, social entrepreneur and the former member,[133] about the absence of any form of effective participation on the web[134] There is currently a tool for collective writing of the program and the proposed law. The forum is considered inadequate for the purpose[135][136] Through his blog, in September 2012, Grillo said that a portal to participate via the web was already under construction[137] The triggering was scheduled for the end of the year 2012, but at the time of the elections of February 2013 it was not yet realized.

On 28 January 2014 Giorgio Sorial, a deputy of the M5S, accused President

  • Official website

External links

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  • Lanzone, Maria Elisabetta (2014). The "Post-Modern" Populism in Italy: The Case of the Five Star Movement. The Many Faces of Populism: Current Perspectives (Emerald Group). pp. 53–78. 
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  • Sæbø, Øystein; Braccini, Alession Maria; Federici, Tommaso (2015). From the Blogosphere into Real Politics: The Use of ICT by the Five Star Movement. From Information to Smart Society (Springer). pp. 241–250. 

Further reading


Region Latest election # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
Abruzzo 2014 143,779 (#2) 21.4
6 / 31
Aosta Valley 2013 4,773 (#6) 6.6
2 / 35
Basilicata 2013 21,219 (#3) 9.0
2 / 21
Campania 2010 36,787 (#15) 1.3
0 / 50
Emilia-Romagna 2014 159,456 (#3) 13.3
5 / 50
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2013 54,952 (#3) 13.8
5 / 49
Lazio 2013 467,249 (#3) 16.6
7 / 50
Lombardy 2013 775,211 (#3) 14.3
9 / 80
Molise 2013 20,437 (#2) 12.2
2 / 21
Piedmont 2014 396,295 (#2) 20.3
8 / 50
Sicily 2012 285,202 (#1) 14.9
15 / 90
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 2013 13,877 (#6) 5.8
1 / 35

Regional Councils

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2014 5,807,362 (#2) 21.2
17 / 73
Beppe Grillo

European Parliament

Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2013 7,285,648 (#2) 23.8
54 / 315
Beppe Grillo
Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2013 8,689,168 (#1) 25.6
109 / 630
Beppe Grillo

Italian Parliament

Electoral results

After a Five Star Movement demonstration inside the Chamber of Deputies against a law approved by the government,[145][146] which caused a brawl between the M5S, the centrist Civic Choice, the far-right Brothers of Italy and the centre-left Democratic Party[147] and the following insults to the President of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini,[148] on 31 January 2014 Corrado Augias, a famous Italian journalist, stated that the violence used by the M5S reminded him of fascism.[149] The following day a militant activist of the Five Star Movement burned some books of Augias and loaded the photos in his Facebook profile, because according to him "Augias offended the movement".[150] This episode was readily taken up by major national newspapers and heavily criticized by all the public opinion, due to some similarities with Nazi book burnings.[151] Beppe Grillo criticized the fact saying that the person who uploaded these photos didn't represent the Movement.[152]

[144] [143], have been accused to be too vulgar and (verbally) violent.Beppe Grillo Often movement's members, especially its leader [142][141].Fascist era (coward who gives up!) a famous motto used during the boia chi molla! shouting Chamber of Deputies The following day Angelo Tofalo, another deputy of the movement, during ended his speech at the [140] immediately defended President Napolitano charging the Five Stars to be extremists.Enrico Letta Prime Minister [139] [138]

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