Italians vote for mayors of Rome, Milan and other key cities | World news
ROME (AP) – Millions of people in Italy began voting for new mayors on Sunday, notably in Rome and Milan, in an election widely seen as a test of political alliances ahead of a nationwide poll in a little more one year.
The two voting days end on Monday and the first results are expected afterwards. But many voters will have to wait two weeks to find out who their mayor will be.
The second round will take place from October 17 to 18 in municipalities with more than 15,000 people between the first two voters if no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote.
Almost all mayoral races in the larger cities, including Rome, Turin, Naples and Bologna, should see runoff. Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala has told supporters he believes they could win enough votes to give him another five-year term without a second round.
Around 12 million people, or around 20% of the Italian population, have the right to vote in municipal elections.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, a prominent populist figure in the 5 Star Movement, has fought an uphill battle to keep her post. Opinion polls have indicated that the two best likely voters in the field of the 22 candidates will be a center-left Democratic candidate and a right-wing candidate backed by Anti-Migrant League leader Matteo Salvini and the extreme leader. right Giorgia Meloni and her Feast of the Brothers of Italy with neo-fascist roots.
When Raggi took over as head of the city in 2016, she inherited a mess and many of the Italian capital’s problems persist. Piles of uncollected garbage again ravaged the city, several metro stations were closed for months for maintenance, and aging buses often broke down on their routes, sometimes catching fire, during his tenure.
Salvini and Meloni, officially allies in a right-wing alliance, measure each other with caution, as both have the ambition to be Italian prime minister. Legislative elections are slated for spring 2023, but the two leaders have been pushing for earlier elections.
The 5 Star Movement, currently the largest party in Parliament, has suffered internal strife.
The results of the mayors’ campaign alliances in this month’s municipal races will be dissected as a possible indication of how Italians feel when they next vote for national leadership.
Voters in southern Calabria, in the “tip” of the Italian peninsula, are also electing a governor, replacing one who died of cancer while in office last year.
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