Darren Loucaides is a Barcelona-based journalist from London. He used to live in Italy and writes about Mediterranean identity.
After weeks of negotiations, an agreement had been signed by Five Star Movement and the hard-right party Lega. Then, at the last moment, Italian President Sergio Mattarella — who holds a largely ceremonial role as head of state — torpedoed the deal.
The Italian establishment has failed from the start to understand the appeal of Five Star. First, it ignored the movement’s mass rallies, then dismissed its electoral aspirations, branding it by turns fascist and communist. Instead of trying to understand Five Star’s growing popularity, the main parties labeled its candidates dilettantes lacking the experience and competence to govern.
Little more than a month ago, no one had heard of Macerata. Then the murder of Pamela Mastropietro thrust the small town in central Italy onto the national stage, and the whole course of a pivotal national election was altered.