Italy’s Left Leader Survives Leadership Vote After EU Election Defeat

Italy's populist Five Star Movement (M5S) party leader Luigi Di Maio, addresses journalists a day after Italy's general elections, on March 5, 2018 in Rome. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right euro-sceptic League party were the big winners of the election, which laid bare widespread anger over immigration …

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has won a vote on his leadership after offering his resignation following a disastrous election result in the European Parliament elections last weekend.

Members of the Five Star Movement (M5S) were invited to vote on the continuation of Di Maio’s leadership on Thursday on the movement’s website, known as Rousseau, with 56,127 members voting and 80 per cent supporting that the left-populist remains in post, euronews reports.

Following the vote, the movement wrote on their website: “Today on Rousseau was one of the most beautiful pages in the history of direct democracy of the Five Star Movement was written.”

M5S also praised the “record participation in an online vote for the Movement which is also the world record for an online vote in a single day for a political force”.

Prior to the vote, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported that members of the movement were shocked that their election results in last weekend’s European elections had been even lower than polls had previously predicted.

Some blamed Di Maio, who serves as the leader of the Five Star Movement, deputy prime minister, and labour minister, as having taken on too many jobs at once. Despite the criticisms, M5S founder Beppe Grillo came out in defence of Di Maio saying: “The spread of statements that discuss the disappointment arising from the polls, as if it were a drop in sales for a multinational company, it is a wound for me.”

“Luigi has not committed a crime, he is not exposed to a scandal of any kind. He must stay on,” Grillo added.

Despite winning the vote of confidence in his leadership, Di Maio still faces polls that heavily favour his coalition partner Matteo Salvini and his right-populist League party who won the European elections.

Salvini has made it clear he will use the momentum of the election win to push for his own domestic policies, many of which the Five Star Movement has previously rejected.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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