Italy’s 5-Star Suffers Setback in Local Elections

People stand in a queue to cast their ballots in Italy’s municipal elections on June 11, 2017. People stand in a queue to cast their ballots in Italy’s municipal elections on June 11, 2017.

Italy’s 5-Star Movement has failed to make the second round in local elections in a number of key cities. The votes are seen as a test ahead of national elections to be held within months.

Italy’s euroskeptic 5-Star Movement was dealt a blow in local municipal elections on Sunday, failing to make the runoff vote in Parma, Verona, Palermo, L’Aquila, Catanzaro, Lecce and Genoa, according to exit polls run by state broadcaster RAI.

Its only hope of making the second-round vote on June 25 was in the southern Italian city of Taranto, early results indicated.

“This is a huge defeat for 5-Star,” said Matteo Ricci, head of local affairs for the ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD). “Not only are they not making the run-offs, but they are polling disastrous numbers. Today shows that a year after its victory in Rome, the verdict on its ability to govern at a local level is negative.”

Sunday’s election called on some nine million voters in more than 1,000 towns and cities across Italy, making them a useful gauge months before a parliamentary ballot.

Center-right, center-left or independent mayoral hopefuls looked set to contest the runoff elections.

5-Star and the ruling center-left Democratic Party, led by former premier Matteo Renzi, are running neck-and-neck in national polls with around 30% support.

Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right party and Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Northern League have about 13% support.

But Sunday’s results may indicate 5-Star’s shine is fading, dashing their hopes to take over the premiership.

After rising in popularity, 5-Star has been beset by local infighting and a series of scandals in Rome and Turin after their candidates won mayoral seats last year.

5-Star may be following the path of other anti-establishment parties across Europe, with the Front National in France, the anti-EU group UKIP in Britain and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) all stumbling in polls.


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