Italian populist party put ministers immunity to online vote News Al Jazeera

Italian populist party put ministers immunity to online vote News Al Jazeera Five Star movement asks supporters whether Matteo Salvini should be prosecuted for allegedly kidnapping migrants. Members of Italys ruling Five Star Movement are voting online on Monday to decide whether to block a possible kidnapping trial against Interior Minister , a coalition ally and leader of the right wing League party. In line with the partys populist approach of letting members directly vote on important political issues, deputy prime minister and leader of the populist movement, Luigi di Maio, set up a vote on the partys internet platform Rousseau. The pioneering online system was designed to introduce direct democracy by conducting online primary votes, surveying members on policies, and receiving donations. The digital vote comes after a request by a group of Sicilian judges for the Senates permission to pursue an investigation of Salvini on alleged abuse of power and kidnapping. The judges request dates back to Salvinis into Italy, leaving them stranded at sea on board a rescue vessel for five days in August. The result of the online vote will dictate how the Five Star movements senators will vote on Tuesday in a committee that could block the Sicilian probe. While Salvini asked the Senate to reject the Sicilian prosecutors request for a trial, the Five Star movement faces an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, the party builds its support on a clean judicial image and has always attacked legislators who used parliamentary privilege to avoid trials. On the other hand, allowing the investigation and possible trial against Salvini to continue could put the government at risk of collapse, state news agency Ansa reported on Sunday, citing sources within the Five Star Movement. The query put to party members on the blog reads: “Was the delay in the disembarkation of the Diciotti in order to redistribute the migrants in various European countries done in order to protect the interests of the state?” A “yes” vote will deny prosecutors authorisation to launch the probe, while a “no” vote will allow them to. The confusing way the query was posed to voters prompted criticism among the partys opposition as well as its supporters.   Founder of the Five Star Movement Beppe Grillo, who sits on the bench of the party since Luigi di Maio became leader, commented sarcastically on the partys approach. “If you vote “yes”, it means no. If you vote “no” it means yes,” said Grillo on Twitter.  Se voti Si vuol dire NoSe voti No vuol dire SiSiamo tra il comma 22 e la sindrome di Procuste! Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Di Maio and the Five Star movements Transport Minister Alessandro Toninelli may be put under investigation alongside Salvini over the migrant issue, Italian newspapers said on Sunday.  Conte wrote in a letter deposited in the Senate that the decision to block the migrants was taken collectively. On Sunday, speaking to supporters in Sardinia, Salvini brushed off concern about the online ballot: “What I did, I did to defend the safety of citizens and, if necessary, Id do it again,” he said. Rescue at Sea: Migrants in the Mediterranean

Maurice Vega

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