MoVimento Cinque Stelle
The Five-Star Movement, or M5S, is a new Italian political party launched by Beppe Grillo, a comedian turned popular activist and blogger, and tech entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio. It advocates direct democracy, ‘zero-cost politics' and a referendum on whether Italy should remain in the euro. The party's contempt for the politicians who have led Italy over the past 20 years have prompted the latter to retaliate and brand M5S as populist and euro-skeptic. The party stunned analysts by winning 25.6% of the vote in Italy's 2013 general election. That performance was driven by a large protest vote which remains substantial, as M5S has consistently polled above 20% ever since. Its core constituency consists of middle-class working-age people who face a staggering tax burden and pay hefty pension contributions to fund the older generation catered to by the mainstream political parties. However the party's lack of a traditional organizational structure makes its future hard to predict.