ROME (Reuters) – Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a technocrat who previously rejected direct affiliation of any party, on Sunday took on the task of reviving the fortunes of the 5 Star Movement as it struggled to find a way out of politics. crisis.
5-star, the largest group in parliament thanks to its victory in the 2018 election when it won 32.7% of the vote, its support has continued to shrink and now stands at around 15%.
His decision this month to support a new national unity government led by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi further divides and weakens him, sparking defections from members who see him as a betrayal of the original 5-Star anti-establishment identity.
“Giuseppe Conte has accepted the task … putting together a project to re-establish the 5 Star Movement,” the party said after a Rome meeting between Conte and 5-Star top brass including its founder, former comedian Beppe Grillo.
It said Conte would lead a “total restructuring” of 5-Star, which Grillo created in 2009 as an anti-system protest movement.
Ecology and the fight against inequality and corruption will remain the main board of the 5-Star platform, the party said in a message on Facebook, adding that it would work more closely with associations and movements not directly involved in party politics.
Conte is one of the most popular politicians in Italy and has always been close to a 5 star. A survey by the Ipsos agency in January gave him an approval rating of around 56%.
By attributing his fortune to the 5 Star, Conte will lose his previous status as a non-partisan mediator between the 5-Star and the center-left Democratic Party (PD), a key backer of his government that collapsed in January over the coalition. broken.
Nonetheless, he is expected to try to forge a stable alliance with the PD to try to compete with the right-wing party bloc led by the League of Matteo Salvini which is currently leading in the polls. The next election is scheduled for 2023.
After Sunday’s development, it is hoped that Conte will soon be formally appointed as the new 5 Star leader, replacing caretaker Vito Crimi. Alternatively, he or she can join the steering committee together with a small group of other senior members.