ROME – Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is broadening its reach as it eyes national office, inviting some very establishment figures to a daylong summit on technology, science, jobs and the future.
If any evidence were needed that the 5-Stars are attracting more than just the working-class backers typical of Europe's anti-establishment parties, Saturday's summit was it. The head of Google Italy, university professors, prominent journalists and Italy's leading astronaut took part.
Recent polls have put the 5-Stars ahead of the ruling Democrats with some 32 percent of the vote. The movement blends an ideology-defying anti-bank, pro-green agenda with a social-media friendly "direct democracy" ethos, where members pick candidates and platforms online.
It opposes forming coalitions and is hoping to reach the 40 percent threshold that would give it bonus seats in parliament.