Italy’s Conte sets conditions to become the Leader of 5Stars – POLITICO

ROME – Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has told the 5 Star Movement that he wants far greater powers if he becomes party leader.

Conte has no formal affiliation with any political party, but has led two coalition governments including the 5Stars.

After Conte was overthrown in favor of current Prime Minister Mario Draghi earlier this year, comedian Beppe Grillo, founder of the 5Stars, asked Conte to “re-establish” the movement. In April, Conte accepted but said it had to be “a full recovery” and not “just marketing”.

In recent weeks, however, disagreements have come to a head over Conte’s plans to modernize the party, including curtailing Grillo’s powers.

The dispute escalated last week when Grillo allegedly told 5Star MPs that Conte “needs to learn and learn what the 5Stars are,” adding, “I’m the founder, not just some asshole.”

At a press conference in Rome on Monday, Conte brushed aside Grillo’s comments, saying a public apology was not required.

While Grillo will always be the “guardian of the 5Stars values”, said Conte, he must “decide whether he should be a generous father who lets his child grow up or a father-overlord who prevents his emancipation”.

Conte has not yet released his plans for the movement, but has set the terms of his engagement, including the ability to set political line and power over communication.

“A political force ambitious to lead the country cannot have a half-leader,” he said, adding that such a political force “cannot have a shadow leader or a front man. Or whatever, this front man won’t be me. ”

Conte invited members of the movement to read his plans and vote on them, but warned that if he could not find a large majority of support, he would leave. “I need a lot of enthusiasm … from Beppe and the movement. When I get that, I will put my whole soul into the project. “

Grillo’s fears reflect the unease of some activists and parliamentarians that Conte is reorganizing the 5Stars and turning the movement into a traditional top-down party full of professional politicians. The original 5Stars sought civil representation by exercising a maximum of two mandates. Members voted for a five-member leadership council last year, but Conte’s plan is for a single leader.

If Conte’s demands are not met, some in the 5Stars fear he could topple the movement by founding his own party. A new poll for il Giorno found that 16-18 percent of voters support a hypothetical new party led by Conte, with the 5Stars back at 12 percent, a 4-5 percentage point decrease.

But Conte rejected the talk of founding a new party, saying: “Those who know me know that I don’t have a double agenda.”

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