Italy’s former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the founder of the co-ruling 5-Star Movement, comedian Beppe Grillo, reached an agreement on Sunday. Differences over the future of the party had arisen recently. The party can now relaunch.
5-star’s coalition collapsed in January, leading to a national unity government led by Mario Draghi. This was under threat due to differences between Grillo and Conte, who had agreed to take charge of the struggling party.
Largest party in parliament finally cohesive
While 5-Star is the largest group in parliament, triumphing in the 2018 elections, many of its politicians and supporters have been unhappy with some of Draghi’s policies. If the party split, a significant number of its lawmakers could move into opposition.
Conte said he is happy with the deal with Grillo. They can now relaunch the party.
“Time to leave behind us the shadows of these difficult days,” said Conte. He added there was now a clear division of roles between himself – leader – and Grillo – guarantor of 5-Star’s founding principles.
Conte, who previously had no party affiliation, put together plans for a remodelled 5-Star along mainstream, centre-left lines. However, Grillo blocked everything, protesting he was being sidelined.
The party was in further disarray at the end of June. Then Grillo said Conte was not fit to be the next leader of the movement.
Conte and Grillo no longer at loggerheads
“Beppe Grillo and Giuseppe Conte have unanimously agreed the new rules of the 5-Star Movement,” said Vito Crimi, party veteran and former caretaker leader.
Crimi also asserted a clear and legitimate leadership was an essential element of stability.
Grillo and Conte will meet again to finalise details of the agreement. Following that, a vote for a new statute and party leader will take place.
Several senior 5-Star members welcomed the truce. “This agreement allows us to start again in a moment of difficulty. It was a very hard job but we did it,” Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli said.