|Italian local elections 2016
ON THIS PAGE: Five Star Movement helped by right-wing votes ||| Results from largest Italian cities |||
ON OTHER PAGES
• South African municipal elections 2016
• Italian elections 2016
• UK elections 2016
• Tokyo mayoral election 2016
|Populist candidates capture
Rome and Turin with
the help of right-wing votes
Rome, 22 June 2016: Italy’s populist Five Star Movement (M5S) won two of the four big prizes on offer in last Sunday’s second round of local elections. The party, which since its foundation in October 2009 by the popular comedian Beppe Grillo as an anti-establishment movement has moved to the right of the country’s political spectrum, won the mayoral contests in Rome and Turin and a number of smaller cities. Analysis by City Mayors shows that in Rome the 21-per cent first-round support for the national-conservative party Brothers of Italy (FdI) helped the M5S candidate Virginia Raggi to victory in the run-off. She almost doubled her share of the vote from 35 per cent in the first round to 67 per cent in round two, while her centre-left opponent only managed to increase his vote from 25 to 33 per cent.
In Turin, the incumbent centre-left mayor won almost 42 per cent in the first round but could only add four percentage points in round two. His M5S challenger, Chiara Appendino, however managed to increase her share of the vote from 31 per cent in round one to almost 55 per cent after Brothers-of-Italy voters switched their support to her.
In Italy’s second city, Milan, the centre-left candidate, who belongs to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) defeated the centre-right candidate who was supported by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Milan’s new mayor has been credited with rescuing the 2015 World Expo from disaster after its construction had been marred with allegations of mafia involvement. Pope Francis also thought that the money spent on the Vatican pavilion was wasteful. In Bologna, where the M5S did not advance to the run-off stage, the centre-left incumbent mayor Virginio Merola comfortably defeated the candidate from the centre-right coalition.
During the first- and second-round campaigns, the Five Star Movement accused the established parties of having tolerated graft and corruption in local government, particularly in Rome, where allegedly city contracts were routinely awarded to firms controlled by the Mafia. Accusations have also been made that employees of Rome City Hall have stolen millions from the city’s coffers. But the M5S also has its own problems. The party’s mayor in Parma, Frederico Pizzarotti, is under investigation of abuse of power, while in Livorno, another M5S mayors has fraud accusations hanging over him. Last month, Beppe Grillo, the M5S leader, caused controversy when he ‘jokingly’ said he wanted to see London’s newly elected Muslim mayor blow himself up in front of Westminster.
In the European Parliament the Five Star Movement has aligned itself with right-wing populist parties like Alternative for Germany, the UK Independence Party, the Sweden Democrats and the Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was shortlisted for the World Mayor Prize when Mayor of Florence from 2009 to 2014.
Italian local elections 2016:
Winners and runners-up
in largest cities