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Grillo launches anti-Renzi online campaign going into talks

Anti-establishment leader ridicules premier-designate

19 February, 13:50
Grillo launches anti-Renzi online campaign going into talks (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, February 19 - Beppe Grillo, the head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), launched a Twitter hashtag ridiculing Matteo Renzi just before entering government-formation talks with the premier-designate on Wednesday. The hashtag, #sfiduciamoRenzie, roughly translates to "no-confidence for Renzie" in a mocking reference to the character Fonzie from the 1970s sitcom, given Renzi's taste for leather jackets and sunglasses. Renzi, the head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), has been in government-formation meetings with party leaders since Tuesday, after forcing Premier Enrico Letta to step down.

Grillo, a comic-turned-politician, has called the meetings a farce, but he was forced to come to the table after members of his populist Internet-based movement voted in favor of them by a slim margin late Tuesday. The M5S has insisted on streaming the meeting live, as it did in similar talks last year with then-PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani. The M5S's refusal to ally with Bersani was a factor behind two months of government deadlock after inconclusive elections, leading to Bersani's resignation and the formation of Letta's left-right coalition.