Can Italy’s clown-led party run the circus?
LIVORNO—Their leader has been dubbed the clown prince of Italian politics.
And now the Five Star Movement (M5S) looksset to be given the chance to run the circus by taking control of the country’s capital.
With Virginia Raggi tipped to become Rome’s first female mayor after a run-off vote this weekend, the spotlight has turned to M5S’s performance in smaller cities where it already holds power.
It is a record that is mixed in Parma (population: 200,000) and Livorno (160,000), both of which have had mayors elected on an M5S slate since the last set of local polls in 2014.
“The impression is that the actions of these mayors have led to disappointment. They raised hopes so highly that they were impossible to be fulfill and inevitably a certain disillusionment set in afterwards,” said Lorenzo De Sio, a professor of political sociology at the Luiss university in Rome.
Founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, Five Star has established itself as the primary opposition force in Italian politics against a backdrop of deep divisions on the right between centrist allies of fading figurehead Silvio Berlusconi and a far right tendency led by the Northern League.
Grillo’s movement insists it belongs to neither left nor right, basing its appeal instead on a call for voters to throw out an established political class it depicts as chronically corrupt and incapable of change.—APP The venue for the dolphins will be a protected coastal habitat, where the animals will continue to live under human care.
“We now know more about dolphins and their care, and we believe that the National Aquarium is uniquely positioned to use that knowledge to implement positive change,” said John Racanelli, chief executive officer of the National Aquarium.
“This is the right time to move forward with the dolphin sanctuary.”
Management and the board of directors at the aquarium in Baltimore, near Washington, started working on a strategy for the dolphins five years ago.
Many ideas were floated, including rebuilding the existing marine mammal facility, which is 25 years old, to create a more natural-style setting.
Transferring the dolphins to other licensed facilities was also considered. But officials ultimately decided to set up a coastal refuge with National Aquarium staff continuing to take care of the dolphins and interacting with them.
“This is a special time in history concerning evolving attitudes about treating all forms of life with dignity and respect—other humans very much included,” said Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist, explorer and author.—APP