World Bulletin/News Desk
Italy's 5-Star Movement voted on Thursday to ally itself with Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the European Parliament, rejecting its only other possible partner.
The vote paves the way for an alliance between the anti-establishment 5-Star and the anti-European UKIP, which would give the group's members more power over European legislation, access to more funding and the right to sit on committees.
According to results posted on a blog run by 5-Star's leader, comedian Beppe Grillo, 78.1 percent of the group's voters chose UKIP, while 11.9 percent abstained.
Ten percent of 5-Star, which burst onto Italy's political scene for the first time last year, opted for the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which voted on Thursday to bring Germany's anti-euro AfD party into its bloc.
The 5-Star movement won 25 percent of the vote in its first parliamentary election in 2013, as Grillo's populist rhetoric appealed to Italians exasperated by years of political scandals followed by the austerity policies of Mario Monti's caretaker government.
But it failed to recreate that success at last month's European elections, taking 21.2 percent of the vote. By comparison, pro-European Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) won more than 40 percent.
Shortly after the results were published, Grillo tweeted a photograph of UKIP leader Nigel Farage grinning over a pint of beer raised in an apparent toast.Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2014, 23:06