The Five Star Movement’s anti-establishment credo has struck a chord with Italian voters. The populist group, which says it wants to give power back to the people, is on course to fill more seats in Parliament than any of Italy’s political parties after the March 4 general election. Although it’s fallen short of a majority of seats, Five Star is likely to play a crucial role in the next governing coalition, casting aside its previous reluctance to enter traditional alliances and coalitions.
It calls itself a movement and not a regular political party. It was founded in 2009 as a web-based organization by Beppe Grillo, a comic-turned-politician, along with internet strategist Gianroberto Casaleggio. At first, Grillo focused on uncovering corruption in government and at corporations like Parmalat SpA, branching out into politics as interest in his campaigns snowballed. The movement says it belongs to neither right nor left, and the main source for its views is its official blog.