Former waiter in running to become Italy's next leader
A former waiter is poised to be elected as head of Italy's most popular party today, giving him a shot at becoming the country's next prime minister.
Luigi Di Maio is all but certain to be announced the winner of an online ballot to choose the new leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which has called for a referendum on whether Italy should ditch the euro.
Members of the party, which has challenged the traditional primacy of the left and right, voted online yesterday and Thursday, with the result to be announced at a rally in Rimini this evening. Mr Di Maio, the deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, was one of eight contenders but the other seven are considered to be political nobodies with no chance of winning.
A general election is due to be held by next May, with the Five Star Movement leading most opinion polls as the most popular party. Mr Di Maio stands out for his youth - he is 31 and has had a meteoric rise within the party that was founded in 2009 by Beppe Grillo, a former stand-up comedian.
Mr Di Maio presents a calmer image than 69-year-old Mr Grillo, who has a toxic relationship with the press - this week he told journalists: "I'd eat you just for the pleasure of vomiting you out." The election was called after Mr Grillo stepped back from the party's day-to-day running. (© Daily Telegraph)