ROME, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Beppe Grillo, whose anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) holds the balance of power in Italy, said on Monday that his MPs who defied orders voting for the center-left's candidate for Senate speaker should resign.
Some M5S senators opted to back the center-left at the weekend run off between the two frontrunners, former anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso and the center-right candidate of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, Renato Schifani.
"The choice was an impossible one ... It was a question of deciding between the bubonic plague and a bad cold," Grillo wrote on his website, which gave life to the grassroots movement in 2009.
The comedian-turned-activist said that his MPs who voted for Grasso have broken the movement's line, agreed by the majority, of closure to any attempt to reach an agreement over a coalition government.
In his view, the "game" was organized to put the M5S in trouble, with Berlusconi's center-right proposing "intolerable people" and Pier Luigi Bersani's center-left giving a "fig leaf."
After four rounds of inconclusive voting, the Bersani coalition managed to get both of its candidates elected as speakers for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, the highest positions after the president of the Republic.
Bersani had tried over the past days to win the M5S support with a program reflecting many points of the movement's manifesto, including steps to cut the costs of politics.
According to local observers, Grillo, who did not stand for parliament because of a manslaughter conviction in relation to a car accident, may have difficulties imposing discipline on his inexperienced lawmakers.
The grassroots M5S was born to oppose Italy's traditional parties that have been hit by escalating scandals linked to corruption and misuse of public money.
In last month's election, it was the third most voted force preventing the center-left from gaining a working majority in parliament.
President Giorgio Napolitano is set to start formal consultations with party leaders on Wednesday for attempting to form a government.
With Grillo ruling out any prospect of alliance with Bersani, and the latter firmly shutting the door to Berlusconi, the risk was high that any executive that takes power will be unstable, analysts said.
An early return to vote was a concrete alternative that could stoke international fears that Italy may not be able to tackle its economic and social crisis.