Comic’s party breaks up

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Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which has enjoyed a surge in support over the past year, is in danger of imploding just as elections begin.

Comedian Beppe Grillo, its founder and chief, yesterday expelled two key members after weeks of internal dissent over his alleged dictatorial style.

Grillo – famous for his rants against the ruling classes – said he was fed up with the sniping and told his critics to “get out of the movement”.

“Don’t come and break my b*lls about democracy. I’m getting fed up, I’m getting angry, seriously angry,” Grillo wrote on the 5-Star Movement’s blog, its main forum for communication.

He expelled Giovanni Favia, a councillor in Emilia Romagna, and Federica Salsi of Bologna, capital of the northern region.

5-Star had seen support rise from 1.8 per cent in 2010 to around 20 per cent in polls, making it Italy’s second party.