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Grillo expels five more M5S Senators

Others considering leaving party caucus, sources say

06 March, 15:09
Grillo expels five more M5S Senators (ANSA) - Rome, March 6 - Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo expelled five more Senators from his anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S) on Thursday after they tendered their resignation as parliamentarians in solidarity with four former party members who had been similarly ejected. "You are isolated and cannot continue to be the official representatives in the institutions. Alessandra Bencini, Laura Bignami, Monica Casaletto, Mary Mussini and Maurizio Romani are out of M5S," thundered Grillo from his blog. Last Wednesday Senators Luis Alberto Orellana, Francesco Campanella, Fabrizio Bocchino and Lorenzo Battista were expelled from M5S following an on-line vote for daring to criticise their leader's tirade against Premier Matteo Renzi during his government-formation.

The incident brought tensions within Italy's second-biggest political force to a head amid accusations of hypocrisy on Grillo's part.

The latest expulsions were greeted by sarcasm from across the political spectrum.

"Last one out, close the door. In the end only he (Grillo) and (M5S co-fonder) Casaleggio will be left," wrote Democratic Party (PD) Senator Mario Morgoni in a tweet. "Beppe Grillo in North Korean sauce. By expelling five M5S Senators perhaps he is aiming to run as successor to Kim Jong-un," echoed party colleague Francesco Scalia. Elvira Savino of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's opposition party Forza Italia criticised Grillo for playing into the hands of the PD.

"He continues to expel parliamentarians who will inexorably end up in the arms of Renzi and (Giuseppe) Civati,", leader of a dissident group within the PD, she said. Meanwhile five more M5S Senators were considering leaving the party caucus following the latest ouster according to media reports.