Local elections coming up for anticorruption movement

 Local elections are coming up in Italy. The Movimento 5 Stelle was founded by the famous comedian Beppe Grillo and they think that their anticorruption and ecological campaign will make them grow bigger.

By Thomas Pickelner

It is only spring but tourists have already invaded the streets of Verona. The ancient city where Romeo met his Juliette can’t be described by any other word than beautiful. But it is facing huge environmental issues.

“Verona is the third most polluted city in Italy and we are starting to have big problems with asthma and other diseases here”, says Gianni Benciolini, who is running for mayor of Verona for Moviemento 5 Stelle.

He is standing in one of the big squares in Verona behind their home made information table handing out flyers and collecting signatures for the party to be able to be a part of the coming local election for the first time in May.

“ We needed 500 signatures and we have already achieved that, now we are just here to make public relations”, Gianni Benciolini, says.

Gianni Benciolini are running for mayor in Verona. Photo: Thomas Pickelner

He is a technician at the university of Verona and he signed up as a spokesperson’ as they are called instead of politicians as soon as he heard about the movement.

”We are not politicians. We are normal people that want a change. I joined the movement because I want a better future for my 1-year old son and there is no good future with the politics we have today in Italy”, he says.

Their election programme is focusing on environmental and ecological issues as well as making politics more visible for the people and less corrupt.

There is a bunch of people helping Gianni Benciolini, to collect signatures this day at the square. One of them is Michela Toffali. She is 33 years old, are working with marketing and one of few female activist for Moviement 5 Stelle in Verona. It was also when she recently became a mother that she realized that she wanted to make a change.

“I am fed up as many Italians are. Italy has so many problems and people are getting tired to see the politicians don’t do anything about them”, says Michela Toffali.

Michela Toffali is collecting signatures for Moviemento 5 Stelle Verona. Photo: Thomas Pickelner

She got the spirit in her eyes and she continues lively.

“You can’t just sit around and complain, you have to do something yourself. In the movement we offer solutions and hope for the people”, she says.

The movement did surprisingly good in recent elections

The local elections are held in different cities every fifth year.  The newly founded Moviemento 5 Stelle has participated in elections the last two years and gained 150 seats in 105 municipalities. This has been surprisingly good since they are so new and had to campaign without public funding and was largely ignored by the media.  This year they are hoping to get 300 more seats.

In Verona their goal this election is to get one seat. But on the question of what they could do with only one seat Gianni Benciolini answers:

”I think that one seat is a good start. In that way we will get into the government building here and we will be able to share our ideas.  We will also be able to open the door to politics for the people, and hopefully we will continue to grow until the next election”.

The famous comedian and founder Beppe Grillo will visit Verona. Here the Arena. Photo: Thomas Pickelner

The founder of the movement, the famous comedian Beppe Grillo,  (read article about him here), are going on a tour to 100 cities in Italy that are having local elections in May to present the local candidates. In Verona they are looking forward to it and hope that it will gain them some votes.

“I am afraid that some people might like our ideas but that they skip to vote for us because they think that we c can’t make any difference since we are new and still small. But if we all vote for something new we can have something new. I am worried about the future for Italy but I think that we can do something good and I have my fingers crossed”, says Michela Toffali and crosses her fingers.


Read also: Article about the founder, famous comedian Beppe Grillo.

See TV-report about the movement:

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