The Mothman of the Party

Italy’s feuding right-wing leaders aim somehow to govern with the same old methods, and for as long as they can (until Italy’s next election, which they would not rule out in November). The party that came to power in last November’s election, the 5-Star Movement, is made up of several different parties, and has as many leaders as its leader is running for. There are the big names, who may be the ones who most easily make the headlines, from the comedian Beppe Grillo, whose popularity made him the most talked-about politician in the country in 2018, to the former leader of the party, Matteo Renzi, who is running for the presidency next year.

There is also the 5-Star Movement’s founder, who, like his successor, was once a member of the Communist youth movement, Antonio Tajani, who now, at a time of huge crisis, is again leading his party, as he did when he was the interior minister under former premier Matteo Renzi. In April this year, the latter announced that he wanted to step down and give way to the leader of the 5-Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, who was elected in a primary election in April. The party was originally named the Movement for Italy (Forza Italia), the name having been chosen by the charismatic politician who has been at the forefront of the Italian left. He is a man who has made his mark in politics through a combination of charisma, talent and a flair for PR. He is also known by the nickname The Mothman of the Party, because he is so good at presenting himself as a messiah-like figure.

The 5-Star Movement first obtained political power in 2013 in an alliance with the Northern League, then led by Silvio Berlusconi’s party. The 5-Star Movement was in opposition before; its first leader, Beppe Grillo, even went as far as to call for a referendum on Italy’s membership in the European Union. During his first year in office, however, he came to blows with the government over the introduction of laws on migration and asylum, and also over austerity measures in the country that led to a series of strikes and violent demonstrations. The 5-Star Movement then supported Berlusconi during the centre

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