It started with a blog, and it could end up with a new Prime Minister. Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star movement, which wants Italy out of the Euro, has called for an election within a week – to pick up on the momentum which saw Matteo Renzi lose the referendum by a margin of almost 20 points, far bigger than that indicated by the polls. On his blog, he had this to say:-
Hooray! Democracy won! The regime’s liars and its propaganda are the first losers in this referendum. Times have changed. Sovereignty belongs to the people, now we start to really apply our Constitution. The first winners are the citizens who raised their heads and went to vote en masse – and they didn’t care about the advice of the TV and newspapers.
He then called for elections, saying his party would begin putting together a manifesto and a cabinet team. None of this will calm the markets; the Euro has fallen to a 21-month low against the dollar – but the Italian bond market has reacted with relative calm. 5-Star is running pretty much even in the polls with Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party. Could a comedian-turned-blogger like Grillo end up as Prime Minister? Could a party with the same name as an 1980s pop group end up running a country? It’s unlikely. But the unlikely is happening all the time nowadays.