ROME, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Italy's populist Five Star Movement on Wednesday extended its deadline for rank-and-file members to put themselves forward as aspiring senators and deputies because its server crashed.
Wednesday's crash prompted administrators to postpone the deadline for aspiring members of parliament to sign up from 12 noon to 5 p.m. local time, according to the Movement's blog.
The Movement's new candidates for parliament will be presented publicly on Jan. 19, ahead of Italy's general election on March 4.
The populist, euroskeptic Movement, currently the leading political force in opinion polls in Italy, prides itself on conducting its business online in what it calls a new model of "digital democracy". However this model has been criticized as vulnerable to data breaches.
The Italian Data Protection Authority (DPA) has said the Five Star Movement may incur sanctions if it doesn't make its online platform secure and guarantee the privacy of its members.
In a Dec. 21 report, the DPA said the Movement's online platform is based on "undoubtedly obsolete" software, making it vulnerable to hacking and identity theft.
The report also says privacy during online voting is compromised because the votes are linked to identifying data such as people's phone numbers, which is a violation of the principle of voter secrecy.
The DPA findings were posted on Facebook on Wednesday by Democratic Party MP Michele Anzaldi. The report stems from an investigation that began when the Movement's online platform was hacked in August 2017 during an online primary to choose its prime minister candidate, Luigi Di Maio.
The Five Stars, who campaign on an anti-corruption, anti-establishment platform, have been widely criticized for fielding incompetent candidates through their online primary system.
Among them is Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, whose administration has been plagued with scandals, resignations, and mismanagement of the capital's disastrous public services.
On Wednesday Raggi, who was placed under investigation in September on charges of making false statements to anti-corruption officials, wrote on Facebook that she has requested a fast-track trial as she is "certain of her innocence."
Rome prosecutors believe Raggi lied to the city's anti-corruption watchdog when she stated she personally promoted the brother of her former personnel chief Raffaele Marra from the traffic police department to Rome tourism chief -- a post for which he appeared to be unqualified and which came with a hefty salary increase of 20,000 euros, according to Il Sole 24 Ore business paper.
In its online ethics code, the Five Star Movement stipulates that its elected mayors and officials must not "nominate or appoint relatives...of their own or of other administrators".
Marra, Raggi's former close aide, was under investigation for corruption for allegedly taking bribes from a prominent Rome real estate businessman.