Raggi Set to Become Rome’s 1st Female Mayor

Raggi Set to Become Rome’s 1st Female MayorRaggi Set to Become Rome’s 1st Female Mayor

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement’s Virginia Raggi is poised to become Rome’s first female mayor, in a blow for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, according to first projections of results.

Raggi had 36.7% of the vote against 23.1% for her closest rival, Roberto Giachetti of Renzi’s PD, according to a first projection conducted by IPR Marketing and the Piepoli Institute for RAI state TV and based on 5% of votes counted.

If results confirm the findings, Raggi and Giachetti would fight a runoff contest on June 19, Bloomberg reported.

Thirteen million voters were called to the polls on June 5 and 19 in cities, including Milan, Naples and Turin. A victory in Rome would hand the Euroskeptics of M5S their biggest win yet and deal a blow to Renzi’s efforts to convince Italians he can make good on his pledge to end years of stagnation.

PD candidates Giuseppe Sala and Piero Fassino were in the lead in Milan and Turin respectively, according to an earlier exit poll by the same institutes.

The next general election is due by early 2018. While Renzi’s PD is still the most popular party more than two years after he took office, its lead is narrowing.

An opinion poll by the Ixe Institute last month credited the PD with 30.5% of the vote, compared with the 40.8% it won in the 2014 European election. M5S received 28.1% while the anti-immigration Northern League had 14.8%.

In the Italian capital, the chaos of traffic, public transport and rubbish collection, as well as corruption and abysmal administration, fueled a backlash against anyone in power.

 Raggi wants to overhaul the administration, institute tight checks on public contracts, slap more fines on drivers who double park, buy hybrid electric buses and deploy ticket collectors. More than a quarter of passengers ride buses in Rome without paying the fare.