Beppe Grillo, the former comic who leads Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, on Thursday hit out against plans to reform the country’s voting rules, describing them as tailor-made to block his party’s rise. “The only point of this electoral reform proposal is to block us because we are the danger to the system,” Grillo, whose party won a quarter of the vote at last year’s national election, told a gathering of the foreign press in Rome. The center-left’s dynamic new leader Matteo Renzi this week drew up a plan to change the voting rules blamed for Italy’s chronic political instability after reaching a widely contested deal with center-right leader and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The 5-Star Movement, which espouses an eclectic mix of green and anti-establishment policies and wants a referendum on Italy’s euro membership, has stayed in opposition since the February 2013 vote and refuses to collaborate with the left-right coalition government.
Grillo dismissed Renzi, who is likely to lead the center-left Democratic Party into the next election as its candidate for prime minister, as a “cartoon character”.
He said the pact with Berlusconi, who is barred from parliament after a tax fraud conviction, was a stitch-up between parties that only pretend to be adversaries.
“What kind of country is this? You can’t reform the electoral law in some night-time deal between a criminal and a cartoon character, you have to do it in parliament,” Grillo said in his usual caustic tones.