Last Sunday, Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Italian 5 Star Movement started an “online referendum” on his blog, asking the supporters whether or not the Movement had to leave the eurosceptic EFDD group in the European Parliament and join the liberal one, the Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe, led by Guy Verhofstadt.
According to Grillo, 78.5% of the Movement’s supporters voted in favour of the proposal (about 32.000 votes), but this unexpected marriage was suddenly stopped by the ALDE itself on Monday afternoon.
But what is this “ALDE”, anyway?
Many Italians did not have a clue until Sunday. Or, at least, this is what an analysis of the Wikipedia data shows us.
The page regarding the group had a boom on Sunday, when it almost reached 20.000 views in a day and was the 8th most visited page on Wikipedia Italia (the first one, Dragon Ball Super, had about 57.000 views) and around 19.000 on Monday (when it was the 13th most visited page, the first, Zygmunt Bauman, had around 58.000 views).
It also looked like a good moment to understand how the European Parliament works: the Wikipedia page regarding the institution also had a rise in its views and so did the Guy Verhofstads’ page.
A curious pattern is also visible when looking at the English version of the online encyclopedia.
While in Italy people were wondering about the ALDE, a renewed interest for the 5 Star “guys” was spreading across Europe.
Again, this also meant a renewed interest for the European Parliament, which had a corresponding rise in page views.
Some countries were more concerned than others. Take a look at what happened on the Swedish version of Wikipedia. The Femstjärnerörelsen (that, for the very few of you who don’t know, means Five Star Movement) had an interesting rise in views on Sunday.
At the same time, Dutch talkers were more interested in understanding what Guy Verhofstadt was up to (but here as well you can see a rise in attention towards the European Parliament).
Let’s finish with Spain, where the European Parliament is gaining traction (if we can say so, with 700 views in a day…).
But the ALDE and the Movimiento 5 Estrellas had their minutes of relative fame in the past few days.
Source: we analyzed raw data from https://dumps.wikimedia.org
We are Elif Lab, a data company that provides analyses on politics and institutions.
We are also working on a project called ThinkingAbout.EU that analyzes various data coming from the European institutions.
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