Rome Elects 1st Woman Mayor

Rome Elects 1st Woman MayorRome Elects 1st Woman Mayor

Italians elected candidates of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement to run city halls in the capital Rome and Turin in the north, in a setback for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans to overhaul the country’s political system. Virginia Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer turned politician, took 67.2% of the vote in Rome, trouncing center-left candidate Roberto Giachetti with 32.8%, the Interior Ministry said early Monday.

In Turin, once the country’s industrial heartland, Raggi’s Five Star colleague Chiara Appendino won the mayor’s race with 54.6% of the vote, defeating incumbent mayor Piero Fassino with 45.4%, Bloomberg reported.

The plunge in popularity for Renzi’s Democratic Party in the two key cities threatens a make-or-break referendum that he has scheduled for October on a proposed overhaul of the Senate that is aimed at ending Italy’s long history of revolving-door governments.

Renzi, 41, has promised to step down if he loses the referendum, which would curtail the upper house’s power to bring down governments with no-confidence votes.

Despite the setbacks in Rome and Turin, Renzi’s candidate in the financial capital Milan, Giuseppe Sala, won the mayor’s race with 51.7% of the vote over center-right candidate Stefano Parisi with 48.3%.

Raggi’s win is the biggest victory so far for the euro-skeptic Five Star and a loss for Renzi’s Democratic Party. Rome’s former mayor, Ignazio Marino of the Democratic Party, stepped down in an expenses scandal.

Raggi has promised to overhaul the city’s crippling bureaucracy and tighten checks on public contracts, a key source of corruption.