The local elections were a boost for the Partido Democratico (PD). The centre-left can supply the mayors in Milan, Bologna and Naples after the first round of local elections in Italy and can still win in Rome and Turin. In the latter cities, a second round will be held in mid-October because none of the parties had obtained 50 percent of the vote.
It is the most important conclusion after the elections last Sunday and Monday. The Italians then elected new local authorities and mayors in several (medium) large cities. These local elections indicate the balance of power between the parties, and can therefore also weigh on national government.
For the PD of former Prime Minister Enrico Letta, the victory therefore means not only more power in the big cities, but also a strengthening of its position as a mainstay in the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. In Turin and Rome, the centre-right can in theory still win, and thus restore the balance with the left, but the provisional standings are certainly in favor of the PD.
Five Star Mayor Fails
It is certainly clear that Virginia Raggi went down ingloriously in Rome. The outgoing mayor of the Italian capital, who had previously hoped for a second mandate, did not even make it to the second round and finishes in third place.
The candidate of the Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment party, received 67 percent of the vote five years ago. There were many protest voices from Romans who gave the political newcomer the benefit of the doubt. But Raggi came at the helm of a capital city with complex problems and massive debt, and she failed to convince.
Also read this report: Even under Five Stars it still stinks in Rome
The Romans will choose in the second round, on October 17-18, between former economy minister Roberto Gualtieri of the center-left and Enrico Michetti, the candidate supported by the center-right and far right. Although Michetti finished in the lead on Monday night, Gualtieri’s cards are better in the second round. He then dares to hope for the votes of the Five Star Movement. Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, now the leader of the Five Star Movement, is expected to express some form of support for Gualtieri, who was a minister in his government.
Except for the Five Star Movement, which is also losing the mayoralty in Turin, this vote was painful for Matteo Salvini. His right-wing Lega party is not doing well in the north of the country, while it has its traditional supporters there. After all, the party that used to be called Lega Nord fought for an independent northern Italy in the past.
Today, however, it faces internal divisions and scandals, which is reflected in the election result. In Milan, Salvini’s home city, Lega achieved less than 11 percent. That is a deep dive for the politician, who still has the ambition to become prime minister one day and who achieved a nice result of 27 percent in the European elections of 2019.
The radical right leader admitted his defeat wholeheartedly, although he said the loss in some cities was due to the late designation of candidates: the voter would not know them enough. “We lost a lot.”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of October 6, 2021