Italy’s Five Star Movement names its ministers pre-election in a break with tradition

Italy's Five Star Movement names its ministers pre-election in a break with tradition
Party leader Luigi Di Maio (centre) in Rome with his party's candidates for ministries. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement broke with tradition on Thursday by announcing its list of ministerial candidates, almost all of them political newcomers, before Sunday's general election.

The party said it wanted to announce its candidates early to distinguish itself from traditional parties, which it said would be making backroom deals for nominations once election results are in.

“This is not a shadow government but a government in the light of day for Italians. We are doing something that has never been done before,” prime ministerial candidate Luigi Di Maio said at an event in Rome.

“Some people have mocked this decision but we will be the ones laughing on Sunday,” the 31-year-old said. “We have brought together this group of people so that everyone, everyone can get to know them personally and professionally,” he said, as he introduced each of the nominees individually and shook their hand.

Among the nominees were Emanuela Del Re, a professor of political sociology, for foreign minister, and criminologist Paola Giannetakis for interior minister.

Elisabetta Trenta, a lecturer in security and intelligence, was chosen to be defence minister and swimming champion Domenico Fioravanti as sport minister.

Ministers do not have to be elected to parliament in Italy. According to the last major polls, the Five Star Movement is set to become Italy's largest party after the March 4th election, but will not have a governing majority.

The party has repeatedly ruled out any formal coalition with other parties but has said it could seek to govern as a minority administration with parliamentary support.

Created in 2009 by former comedian Beppe Grillo and late web entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio, the Five Star Movement has benefited from widespread disillusionment and anger at Italy's traditional political elites.

The populist, internet-savvy party rose to prominence at Italy's last general election in 2013 when it won a quarter of the vote and Di Maio was among 108 M5S candidates elected to the lower house of parliament.