City mayor elections in Italy came and went yesterday. Oddly, the Five Star Movement (usually referred to as Movimento).....did extremely well.
What makes this "movement" different from the typical parties? They will tell you up front....they aren't a party....that they simply want to draw the public to several popular stances. These include anti-American participation in Syrian events, public water projects for Italy, improved public transport, the right to internet access, environmentalism, e-democracy (meaning public referendums), and getting rid of corrupt city waste across Italy.
You'd look over the list and note that most are populist type themes. Well....yeah, they are.
The chief odd feature of Movimento? They are a group which is fronted by an Italian comedian....Beppe Grillo. When Grillo speaks.....he's typically dumping on the system in place and being as sarcastic as possible. Because of this....the movement has a lot of public interest.
So Movimento's candidate in Rome? She won.
I wouldn't label Movimento right-wing or left-wing....but they are openly challenging standard center-left and center-right political parties in Italy. It's just another sign of a changing political environment in Europe.