Interview. ‘Once again, he is playing an important role for us, as his moves have always had the effect of bringing us back together,’ says Five Stars treasurer.

Renzi wanted to break the M5S, PD alliance – he strengthened it instead

Francesco Silvestre, treasurer of the M5S in the Chamber, speaks about Giuseppe Conte’s day in the Chamber in optimistic tones. “Here in Parliament,” he says, “we take note of the fact that when someone wants to cause a split that the people don’t understand, they get the opposite effect.”

Will a relative majority be sufficient in the Senate? 

Technically, it is sufficient. Obviously, after that, it will be necessary to seek the broadest possible support in order to work in the commissions without problems as well. Our objective is not just to remain standing, but to move forward, to continue with the reforms that citizens need. (Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Conte narrowly won the confidence vote in the Senate.)

Do you think there is room for that? 

I think so. We are in a very important phase, it’s a moment in which the intelligent choice suggests that we should continue to work, albeit with our differences.

Renzi seems to have achieved the opposite of what he set out to do. He wanted to break the axis between the Five Stars and the Democratic Party, but now the coalition seems more united than before. 

From the parliamentary point of view, yes. Although, since in general terms it is the people who decide, one will have to see if this perspective will receive the people’s support. We’ll see this in the coming months and years. If we can implement the expansionary policies that will reduce the inequalities that the pandemic is creating. If we continue to stop the layoffs, if we create jobs, if we move forward with digitization and useful works. If we can turn these projects into real things, it will be the people outside this building who will acknowledge that. There is a part of the political spectrum that can’t wait to get into government to take away the citizenship income: this is the alternative that would like to replace this majority. The fact that this political party’s priority during the pandemic is to do something like this speaks volumes.

The M5S has also regrouped, perhaps for the first time in this legislature. 

Renzi has done many good things for us. He was one of the architects of the 33% received by the Five Star Movement in the last general elections, and now he has brought the group together. Once again, he is playing an important role for us, as his moves have always had the effect of bringing us back together.

Even if the group leader of Italia Viva, Ettore Rosato, speaking on the floor, said you were no longer the M5S of a few years ago. 

We are not, in the sense that we have grown. The ultimate goals are always the same, but after years of experience, we are no longer the same as ten years ago. Now, the M5S is more complex, but also much more mature. Let’s say we know how to bring home the things we want.

Until just recently, it was unthinkable to have the M5S asks for votes in parliament in the name of loyalty to Europe. 

It wasn’t absolutely unthinkable, because the Europe that we were criticizing was different from this one. I remember a speech by Alessandro Di Battista who said to Renzi, when he was Prime Minister, “Let’s fight this Europe because we are pro-European.” Also thanks to Conte and to his specific qualities, our vision of a Europe that looks towards social aspects instead of financial ones is being realized, as shown by the Recovery Fund and the suspension of the Stability Pact.

Everyone, from Conte on down, is talking in their own words about the need to give more cohesion to the majority. Will this also have repercussions on the administrative elections? 

I remember when the PD didn’t want Conte at all. Today, on the Chamber floor, it has recognized his merits and is defending him. If we stop with the propaganda about Virginia Raggi and we look at the merits, starting from the powers that exist in the city, what can be done to make it more governable, things look very different. Romans have known a history of political degradation, and in this case as well, they will not vote on political agreements, but on future perspectives. If we think about the vision for the city and stop with the propaganda, we can replicate the national scenario in the local setting.

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