Prosecutors request jail term for M5S leader Grillo
Comic told police not to protect MPs, built illegal protest hut07 February, 18:47
Moments later on Friday, prosecutors in Turin requested a nine-month jail term for Grillo illegally building a hut in 2010 that became a symbol for protests against a high-speed rail line from France to Italy. The comic-turned-politician backs the 'No-Tav' campaign in the Susa Valley north of Turin, which contests the line's economic value and says it will despoil pristine landscape.
The Italian and French governments have insisted the line go ahead to speed passenger and freight traffic and boost both countries' economies. His M5S has been the focus of recent anti-government chaos in parliament, where it is the second biggest single party after the center-left Democratic Party (PD). The PD, together with the center right, has recently forged a new election law that aims to streamline government and prevent the type of gridlock that brought parliament to a grinding halt for two months last year after inconclusive elections. The law favors the two coalitions who come away from an election with the most votes, leading to a runoff. Despite its big numbers, the M5S would struggle to come in second since it refuses to ally with other parties in a bloc. It has accused the established parties of crafting the law to force the movement out of parliament. Last week it was largely responsible for pushing and shoving that broke out on the House floor, sparked in part by House Speaker Laura Boldrini using her powers to shut down an M5S filibuster. Long a target of M5S attacks, Boldrini was subjected to vulgar abuse on Grillo's Facebook page by M5S members over the weekend, some of which imagined her being raped. The M5S has also filed to impeach Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, whom it accuses of failing in his role as impartial arbiter of Italian politics and the Constitution in favor of traditional parties.