Five Star Movement plans to 'revolutionize democracy' through online voting and e-petitions

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Five Star Movement plans to 'revolutionize democracy' through online voting and e-petitions
Five Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo. Photo: AFP

Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement party plans to introduce online voting and public referendums to increase "democracy and transparency" in the country's capital.


Five Star councillors presented the draft resolution at Rome's city hall on Monday, where it will be debated.

They claimed the proposed ideas would take the city "from Mafia Capitale [the ongoing corruption scandal which has seen dozens of Rome politicians and businessmen put on trial] to direct democracy and transparency in five years".

The ideas suggested included online consultations and participatory budgeting. The latter process would give citizens more say in how Rome money is spent, and has already been introduced by Five Star-led local authorities in some areas, including Mira and Ragusa.

In a blog post, leader Beppe Grillo said that within a year, a Five Star government would introduce public petitions which can be created online and sent directly to the Italian parliament for discussion - a system which already exists in the UK, for example.

"It should be the citizens and the local community who govern cities through the Internet, using collective intelligence," said Grillo. "The web is revolutionizing the relationship between citizens and institutions making direct democracy feasible, as applied in ancient Greece."

Angelo Sturni, one of the councillors behind the proposal, said: "We also want to experiment with electronic voting in referendums, using the American model."

Discontent over widespread corruption in Rome, as revealed in the Mafia Capitale trial, was one of the main factors in Five Star candidate Virginia Raggi's victory in mayoral elections last June.

However, Democratic Party MP Stefano Esposito called the Five Star Movement's proposals "a late April Fool's joke", pointing to corruption scandals which have rocked the anti-establishment party in recent months.

He called on the movement to focus on fixing some of the problems which have long plagued the capital city, including waste collection and potholes.

READ ALSO: What is Italy's Five Star Movement?

What is Italy's Five Star Movement?
Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP



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