Can Italy's Beppe Grillo hold it together?

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Can Italy's Beppe Grillo hold it together?

Can Italy's Beppe Grillo hold it together?
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Italians have given their country’s main political parties a disgusted kick in the ballot box in local elections.

Sunday and Monday voting also saw the Internet-based Cinque Stelle (Five Star) movement win a mayoral race in the city of Parma.

Five-Star candidate Federico Pizzaroti took 60 percent of the votes there.

Cinque Stelle was founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, whose satire so lambasted Italian politics for corruption in the past that authorities repeatedly banned him from television.

Delivering blows to the political high and mighty he has designs on parliament in general elections due to be held early next year.

On euronews several years ago he said: “Who am I? Beppe Grillo, a born comic of sorts, a fantasist. I don’t know what I’ve become.”

Grillo is 63. Since his 1970s cabaret days, he has developed his expression of outrage about the vortex of politics in Italy into one of proven resonance today.

His blog is the most-read in Italy. He has presented himself as the honest man voicing the people’s discontent in a world of political thieves and liars.

His political debut came in 2007 when he used the Internet to organise mass demonstrations against Italy’s political class, entitled “Vaffanculo Day”.

Cinque Stelle now has some purchase on power, challenging a discredited political establishment to clean up its act.

It will also be a challenge for Grillo, with his showmanship, to sustain the movement.