What are the factors that have contributed to the rise of the Movimento Cinque Stelle in Italy? Why has it gained popularity?

  • Populist right or left platforms have gained popularity in many western democracies lately. It's not really unique to Italy. There is a huge underlying trend. Mar 5, 2018 at 12:44
  • @Trilarion I have to admit that I cannot think of a single populist left platform that gained popularity recently.
    – Federico
    Mar 5, 2018 at 13:18
  • 1
    @Federico Cinque Stelle also didn't become popular only recently. It's there for like five years or so. Geographically and timewise one may be able to compare it to Syriza and Podemos maybe. Mar 5, 2018 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia article dedicated to this party and this article provide some insight for understanding its success.

tl;dr I think its success relies heavily on anti-establishment message (e.g. unwillingness to form political alliances) and the modern approach to politics (e.g. e-democracy, direct democracy) that catch young votes' attention.

Modern democratic tools - the party promotes modern ways of voting (i.e. electronic voting, more direct democratic methods)

The Five Star Movement, in order to go in this direction, chose its Italian and European parliamentary candidates through online voting by registered members of Beppe Grillo's Blog.

The choice to support the abolition of a law against immigrants was taken online by members of the M5S even if the final decision was against the opinion of Grillo and Casaleggio.[97] The partnership with the UK Independence Party was also decided by online voting.

No "old" politicians - the party tries to apply a maximum number of mandates at any political level, thus ensuring "fresh faces":

no one who has already been elected twice at any level (local or national) can be a candidate again and has to go back to his or her original job Another feature of the movement is the so-called "zero-cost politics",[23] according to which politics must not become a career and way to make money.

Integrity rules - the party does not allow members with criminal record:

The party also supports initiatives to ban politicians with criminal records from being elected. Among the greater political battles of M5S is the ethical commitment to a greater simplicity and transparency to counter the practice of holding two or more positions

Tolerance towards sexual minorities:

The leader of the movement, Grillo, on 15 July 2012 publicly expressed his support for same-sex marriage

Italy has recognized same-sex civil unions since 2016.

Ambiguous position on immigration and European integration - avoid a clear position on such sensitive topics might not divert some voters

Filling an electoral gap - some argue that the young voters (<34) are not represented in Italy and this party fills that gap:

Almost all the young people I spoke with felt that the traditional parties spoke mostly to older voters, and failed to offer concrete plans to help young Italians find employment. There is electoral strategy at work here: Voters aged 18 to 24 make up just 7 percent of the total population of Italy; those aged 25 to 34 make up just 11 percent of the population, Ipsos pollster Mattia Forni told me. “Maybe … for this reason, youth issues are completely, or nearly, missing in the political campaign,”

The party not only that has clear message towards the young, but also promotes young people within its leaders:

The party has pledged to introduce a universal basic income for all Italians, cut down on short-term work contracts, and invest an additional 2 billion euros in the labor market. What’s more, the party’s lead candidate is the 31-year-old Luigi di Maio, who in 2013 became the youngest-ever vice president of Italy’s lower house of parliament, the chamber of deputies.

  • 2
    As an italian that has been following them since 2008, I have a few comments on this answer. Nothing egregiously wrong, but it overlooks things that might be important to know. The "more direct democratic methods" are very well proposed, but horribly implemented. They got hacked multiple times in the last months, and the company owning them (Casaleggio's company) refuses to have them audited. Integrity rules are implemented depending on Grillo's whims (a person that cannot be elected by this rule).
    – Federico
    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:33
  • 2
    Moreover, they are champions of the "direct democratic methods", but is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have votes that contradict Grillo's wishes. Some of the rules imposed on their members are also unconstitutional (but so far not challenged in court). And among the messages that they promote, and have an appeal, I have to add a strong anti-scientific one (anti-vax, anti-OMG).
    – Federico
    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:38
  • @Federico - interesting information. I will check for references that link this to their popularity.
    – Alexei
    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:58
  • ah, another point I forgot: they get a lot of support also from their promise to establish a "citizenship's salary". And this seems to be confirmed by the fact that M5S won almost all districts in the poorest regions, while almost none in the richest ones.
    – Federico
    Mar 7, 2018 at 15:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .