The new mayor-elect of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi, talking to supporters, Source: Gaetano Manfredi Facebook page

The left takes Italy’s large cities, the right stronger in small towns

The left takes Italy’s large cities, the right stronger in small towns

Rome is headed for second round of voting, but it will definitely have a new mayor

Over the last two days, more than 1200 Italian municipalities were engaged in election battles that would decide their leadership for the coming terms. The counting is still ongoing but most of the results are already in and it is clear that the centre-left is the big winner in the big cities. This, however, has been counterbalanced by a strong performance of the right-wing parties in the smaller towns and rural areas, which means that we cannot draw a clear conclusion as the political landscape for the future parliamentary elections.

In fact, most analysts have concluded that the local results do not preclude any shake-ups for the Draghi Government, which is a multi-party, national unity front.

A closer look into the results

What is certain is that the capital Rome will have a new mayor, however, it is not yet known who that would be. The run-off will be between the centre-right Enrico Michetti and the centre-left Roberto Gualtieri. Analysts predict that the latter is more likely to win since the votes from the lower-placed candidates (among whom incumbent mayor Virginia Raggi) will probably go to him.

Raggi’s was not the only major disappointment for the populist 5Stars party, which rode the wave of enthusiasm five years ago. The other female mayor of a major city – Turin’s Chiara Appendino, also from 5Stars – will be leaving her office, as well. However, in this case she did not run for re-election, being substituted on the party list by Valentina Sganga. Still, the 5Stars candidate failed to qualify for the run-off and the centre-left candidate Stefano Lo Russo is favoured to win it.

All in all, it is a clear conclusion that residents in the two cities are disappointed with the governance of the populist 5Stars, especially given that they failed in their environmental policies. Turin, for example, was considered to have the worst air quality in all of Italy.

Milan’s Giuseppe Sala is the only mayor from the large cities in play who retained his chair. Bologna and Naples will have new leaders, however, these will be both from the centre-left sector – Matteo Lepore and Gaetano Manfredi, respectively for each city.

The right-wing parties, among which were former PM Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Giorgia Meloni’s national-conservative Brothers of Italy failed to take any of the large cities that were for up for grabs. That, however, was somewhat expected and Salvini explained that it had to do more with internal division in that side of the political sector than anything else.

The conservatives, in this case, Forza Italia, retained the Region of Calabria, which also held an election after its President, and the first woman to hold that position there, Jole Santelli passed away a year ago.



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