The center-left coalitions of Italy have recovered important cities such as Rome or Turin on Monday in the second round of the municipal elections, managing to stop the candidates of the far-rightists Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni.
Tens of thousands of people march in Rome against fascism
In the capital, the progressive Roberto Gualtieri will be mayor with 60.08% of the votes against Enrico Michetti (39.92%), while in Turin the center-left candidate Stefano Lo Russo has prevailed with 59.2% to Paolo Damilano (40.8%), according to the first results published by the newspaper La Repubblica.
Italy has held the second round of municipal elections between this Sunday and Monday to change the municipalities of 65 cities, among these ten capitals, after a first shift on October 3 and 4 that ended with the triumph of the center-left in Milan, Bologna (north) and Naples (south), among other locations.
The left has taken over the majority of provincial capitals such as Caserta, Cosenza, Isernia, Latina, Savona and Varese, while in Trieste the current mayor will continue, the right-wing Roberto Dipiazza, after a frantic and very tight comeback (51.6 %).
The “ungovernable” Rome
“A work of extraordinary intensity is now beginning to promote Rome and make it work better, so that it grows and becomes a more inclusive city and champion of the ecological transition,” the new mayor of the capital, Gualtieri, has promised, celebrating his triumph.
The management of Rome is always a thorny issue. The outgoing mayor, Virginia Raggi, of the Five Star Movement (M5S), has been the last to pay the price of ruling it since 2016, as well as the first woman to do so in its history.
The ruinous financial situation that it has dragged on for decades, as well as the more than precarious situation of some of its elementary services, such as garbage, is especially heavy.
That is why the parties, aware of the wear and tear, opted for second-rank candidates.
And the winner has finally been Gualtieri, a 55-year-old Roman, former Minister of Economy in the second Government of Giuseppe Conte and since the fall of this and the rise of Draghi, in February 2021, deputy and candidate for mayor. His rival was Enrico Michetti, until recently unknown in Rome, who nevertheless has risen to fame for his racist comments and about the Holocaust, revealed these days.
The elections have been thought by the same parties as a pulse to check their pull in the face of the general elections of 2023, since in Parliament all but the far-right Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy are integrated into the coalition that supports the Government of Mario Draghi.
Therefore, the experts try to draw some conclusion, taking into account that more than half of the electorate has stayed at home. In this second round, 43.94% of the census voted, compared to 52.67% in the first round, one of the lowest figures in the series.
The first conclusion is that the center-left coalitions, led by the Democratic Party, have not only managed to resist in cities such as Milan and Bologna, to the north, but have also recovered Rome or Turin, ruled in the last five years by the M5S.
On the other hand, this formation, which has denied its “anti-caste” character, has suffered a new electoral blow, losing those two cities, the first badges it was awarded when it grew vertiginously until it came to power in 2018.
On the other hand, the usefulness of the alliance between the PD and the M5S has been demonstrated, which has allowed us to win in Naples or Bologna, something that must be taken into account in the electoral race.
In this sense, the coalition between Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, which has been working very well in recent years, has discovered a kind of glass ceiling and did not prevail in any of the major cities at stake.
League leader Salvini has been one of the first to react to the results and has drawn interest in the reason why more than half of the five million Italians called to the polls had decided to stay at home. He had previously aired the ghost of an alleged manipulation, commenting on the investigation opened for embezzlement of the manager of the Five Star Government and the PD, dismissed in March as soon as Draghi came to power.
“Obviously, after the second round of the elections,” Salvini wrote on Twitter attaching the news of the opening of the investigation, implying that the Prosecutor’s Office reveals its inquiries for partisan purposes.