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Rome’s Five Star Movement under investigation


Rome’s Five Star Movement under investigation


Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, will be questioned in court on Monday over her connection to corruption allegations that led to the arrest of her chief of staff. Ms Raggi, who belongs to the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), was whisked to power last June on a wave of anti-corruption sentiment. Monday’s probe will leave her and her party red-faced.

Indeed, double standards are starting to appear. On Jan. 3 M5S founder Beppe Grillo refused to expel Mayor Raggi, thereby relaxing a foundational party pillar – removing members under legal investigation.

While Monday’s probe is unlikely to implicate Raggi directly, the damage done to her party’s reputation should be enough to keep her colleagues up at night. By undermining their core anti-corruption credentials, M5S politicians risk alienating their political base. This could have huge political ramifications.

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Last week, a top court affirmed a key electoral law that gives parties with 40% of the vote a majority of seats in the lower house, therefore allowing them to form government. In response, Mr Grillo called on the government to hold fresh elections, believing his party (currently polling at 30%) could gain the support necessary to take power. However, Raggi’s ongoing investigation for abuse of public office will make this task progressively more difficult for Grillo and co.

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