The center-left could manage to keep the city councils of important Italian cities such as Milan (north) or Naples (south) this Monday, defeating the extreme right without palliative, while Rome will require a second round, according to the projections of the first data scrutinized of the elections local.
“We have shown that the right can be defeated,” celebrated former Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who since last March has been the new leader of the Democratic Party (PD), the largest center-left formation in the country and the great winner of the elections with a progressive coalition.
In the absence of knowing the results, due to the always slow scrutiny in Italy, the projections point to a clear victory for the progressive alliance, which in Milan, Naples or Bologna would not even have to go to a second round, set in the country for the October 17 and 18.
Some twelve million Italians were called to the polls to renew the town halls of 1,192 municipalities, in elections with a clear moral on a national scale in which a low turnout has been found, of only 54.69%, compared to 61, 58% of the last elections.
The left stays in the big cities
In short, the struggle was between the right-wing coalition, formed by the “berlusconiana” Forza Italia and the far-right League of Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, and the center-left one led by the Democratic Party (PD), and sometimes also made up of the Five Star Movement (M5S).
And the second option has been the preferred one in many cases.
In Milan, the current mayor, Giuseppe Sala, will revalidate the position with 55% of the votes with 11% scrutinized, after years as a champion of civil rights and welcome in the capital of the prosperous and industrial Lombardy, historic fiefdom of the league.
In the case of Turin (northwest), one of the first conquests of the Five Stars when it was an anti-caste party, there will be a second round between the progressive candidate Stefano Lo Russo, in the lead with 42%, and the one on the right, Paolo Damilano (39.7%) with 25% scrutinized.
The first to comment on the projections of the polls was Salvini and he acknowledged at the RAI that they have had “little time” to explain their future project in cities such as Milan or Bologna.
The right could reconquer Rome
The tightest fight will take place in the capital, Rome, where a second duel will be needed between the most supported candidates: the economist and former minister Roberto Gualtieri, on the left, and the bet on the right, the lawyer Enrico Michetti.
The projections indicate a slight advantage of the latter over Gualtieri, but he could have it easier in the second round, taking the support of the rest of the discarded candidates.
The elections have marked the end of the current mayor, Virginia Raggi, who in 2016 became the first woman to reach the Roman consistory with the M5S and who has been the last.
Power wears out and in Rome more, as she has been able to verify herself by not being able to solve some of the problems that the Eternal City has suffered from for decades, such as disastrous public transport or terrible garbage management.
The alliance between the left and the Five Stars works
One of the most interesting aspects of these elections was to test the long-suffering alliance between the Democratic Party and the Five Stars, two parties that have faced each other in the past and that have joined forces against the right after ruling the country together until eight months ago.
And the result has been victorious. In Naples (south), the former Minister of Universities Gaetano Manfredi will be the new mayor without the need for a second round, supported by a broad center-left coalition with those two parties as the main pillars.
Also in Bologna (north) “La Rossa” (La Roja), the same formula will raise Matteo Lepore as the new mayor, bluntly defeating the right-wing candidate, Fabio Battistini.
The union of both parties has been a bet of their leaders: Letta, of the PD and who also today obtained the act of deputy for Siena, and another former prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, who has taken the reins of the M5S.
A pulse within the right
With Berlusconi in the doldrums, in the background due to his health and advanced age, the staff on the right could change hands: Salvini’s influence is reduced as his partner Meloni takes flight.
During the campaign, tensions and disagreements between the two allies have been pointed out, quickly denied by them. “We cannot waste time on internal issues,” urged Salvini, aware of the loss of his coalition’s strength.
In any case, the right-wing alliance can boast of having preserved the region of Calabria, the “tip of the Italian boot”, which brought forward its elections after the death of the previous president, Jole Santelli.
In the unpredictable Italian politics, it remains to be seen if these elections have any effect on the national government, led since February by Mario Draghi with the support of all parties except Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, until now his only opposition.