Italy Five Star feud over possible Farage alliance
Sparks flew in Italy's anti-establishment Five Star movement on Friday after disappointing results at the European elections led to talk of a controversial alliance with Britain's eurosceptic UK Independence Party.
The party (M5S) had campaigned against European austerity policies and for a referendum on belonging to the euro, but only managed to get 21.2 percent of the vote on Sunday, losing close to three million votes compared to its stellar rise at the 2013 general election.
Since then, cracks have appeared within the movement, with disgruntled members turning on its leader, outspoken former comic Beppe Grillo, who has met UKIP's head Nigel Farage to discuss joining forces.
The idea was hotly rejected by some Five Star members, who insisted any deal must go to the vote on the movement's online forum first.
"We knew nothing about this. Farage's party revolts me, we have nothing in common," member of parliament Giulia Sarti told La Stampa daily.
The Italian papers pounced on an interview with Grillo by Britain's Daily Telegraph which pointed to common ground between the two parties.
Farage, who has been accused along with his UKIP party of racist populism, "is not a racist... he wants to control flows of immigration in Europe like us," Grillo said.
Well known for his biting attacks on the excesses and failings of the EU, Farage "has a sense of humour and a sense of irony," he said.
The comments followed a meeting between the pair in Brussels on Wednesday to "get to know one-another" and explore a possible alliance.
Lawmaker Emanuele Fiano from the Democratic Party (PD), which won the European elections in Italy, said Grillo was "finally revealing his gameplan".
"He says he sees nothing wrong with an alliance with Farage's eurosceptics, homophobes and misogynists," he added.
© 2014 AFP