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Luigi Di Maio expected to be elected Five Star Movement PM candidate


Luigi Di Maio expected to be elected Five Star Movement PM candidate

Five-Star Movement activist and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures as he arrives for a rally in the Sicily town of Termini Imerese

The Five Star Movement (M5S) will announce the results of its leadership ballot today. Luigi Di Maio, deputy speaker of parliament’s lower house, is expected to get the nod ahead of a general election due by May 2018.

Founded in 2009 by acerbic comedian Beppe Grillo, M5S follows an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform, determining its policies via online membership polls. Though the upstart party has made big gains—winning Rome and Turin’s mayoralties in 2016—its momentum has since stalled, and its corruption-fighting image has been tarnished by scandals engulfing Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi.

Members will hope Di Maio’s fresh perspective can rejuvenate their prospects. Yet, Grillo—barred from office due to a manslaughter conviction—will continue to exert his influence over the party, especially if M5S enters government.

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While likely to lead his party, Di Maio is an underdog to lead his country. M5S tops most polls, but forging a coalition with establishment parties would be anathema to the populists, and the party’s forecasted result of some 28% is nowhere near a majority. However, given Italy’s history of volatile politics and a possible alliance with right-wingers, one shouldn’t rule out the 31-year old becoming the country’s youngest-ever PM just yet.

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