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Grillo likens Renzi to Al Capone at Valentine's Day Massacre

M5S leader also blasts Napolitano, calling him 'a monarch'

14 February, 13:16
Grillo likens Renzi to Al Capone at Valentine's Day Massacre (ANSA) - Rome, February 14 - The leader of Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) blasted Democratic Party (PD) chief Matteo Renzi on Friday, likening him to Al Capone and comparing his move to scupper the Italian executive to the Valentine's Day Massacre.

The foul-mouthed comedian-cum-politician Beppe Grillo claimed Renzi was a "good friend" of centre-right Forza Italia (FI) leader Silvio Berlusconi and expressed outrage at his call for a new government Thursday - a move that PD lawmakers backed, prompting the party's Premier Enrico Letta to resign on Friday. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano is expected to hand a mandate to form a government to Renzi, who is also the dynamic mayor of Florence and at 39 could become Italy's youngest premier.

In a post entitled "On Valentine's Day", Grillo wrote on his popular blog, "The new boss is not Al Capone, but an unscrupulous careerist - a good friend of Berlusconi, (FI heavyweight fixer Denis) Verdini and people who would frighten Prohibition gangsters".

Grillo went on to compare Renzi's no-confidence move to the Valentine's Day massacre of 1929 in Chicago, when seven Irish mobsters were lined up against a wall and executed by gangsters led by Al Capone.

Grillo said Letta and his loyalists - "at least those few who haven't converted to the new master by selling even their asses" - were the victims.

"If Al Capone gained control of the market for spirits, Renzi will get to the appointments for state owned enterprises, such as ENI, Enel, Finmeccanica and Terna, which expire in two months. Of the places were the royal power lies," wrote Grillo, who then describes the Italy as a monarchy ruled by President Giorgio Napolitano.

"Letta and Renzi are (themselves) nominees, useful to those who supported them and supports them. Puppets. The parliament and the government itself are an optical illusion and the Quirinale (presidential palace) a monarchy," Grillo continued.

"(Renzi's) qualifications (for premier) are excellent. In addition to being an inveterate liar, banks want him, as do the Confindustria, De Benedetti, Scaroni and the finance sector. A perfect man of the left", the ex-comedian ironized, making reference to a powerful industrialist group, a major publisher, the head of Italian oil and gas multinational ENI, and financial markets.

"Now Napolitano will conduct the rite of consultation (with the parties) that he should, for decency, spare us," calling the move by an obscenity that in Italian means taking people for a ride.

Grillo wrote that now Napolitano will choose Renzi to form a government "as he did for Monti and Letta, ignoring the parliament, the constitution and the will of the Italians for the third time".

Napolitano appointed Letta to cobble together a right-left coalition to overcome nearly two months of political gridlock caused by inconclusive general elections in February 2013.

Mario Monti is an economist chosen by Napolitano in November 2011 to form a technocratic government to avoid a Greece-like financial meltdown as a debt crisis drew heat under ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's tenure.

A parliamentary committee on Tuesday rejected an M5S petition for Napolitano to be impeached.

The M5S accused the 88-year-old president, who was re-elected for an unprecedented second term as head of State last year, of not being a fair arbiter of Italian politics and favouring the established parties.

The lawmakers of the M5S won about a quarter of the vote at last year's general election.