ROME (WNN) – Millions in Italy began voting on Sunday for new mayors, including in Rome and Milan, in an election widely seen as a test of political alliances ahead of nationwide voting more than a year away. .
Two days of polling ends on Monday and the first results are expected later. But many voters will have to wait two weeks to find out who their mayor will be.
Municipalities will vote on 17–18 October, with more than 15,000 people between the top two vote getters, if no single candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
The largest cities, including Rome, Turin, Naples and Bologna, are expected to see runoff in nearly all mayoral races. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala has told supporters he thinks he may be able to win enough votes to give him a five-year term without any runoff.
About 12 million people, or about 20% of Italy’s population, are eligible to vote in the mayoral race.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, a prominent populist figure in the 5-Star Movement, is fighting an uphill battle to keep her position. Opinion polls indicated that the likely two top vote-getters in the 22-candidate region would be centre-left Democratic and right-wing candidates, supported by anti-immigrant League leader Matteo Salvini and far-right leader Giorgia Meloni and their support of the far right. Brothers in Italy party with neo-fascist roots.
When Raggi took command of the city in 2016, he inherited a grudge, and many of the Italian capital’s problems remain. Garbage piles still engulfed the city, many metro stations were closed for months for maintenance and during his tenure old buses often broke down on their routes, sometimes causing fires. Was.
Salvini and Meloni, officially allies in a right-wing coalition, are raising each other, as both have ambitions of becoming the Italian premier. Parliamentary elections are due in the spring of 2023, but both leaders are pressing for an earlier election.
The 5-Star Movement, which is currently the largest party in Parliament, has faced internal strife.
Mayor campaign alliances will be showcased in this month’s municipal race as a possible sign of the spirit of Italians when they next vote for national leadership.
Voters in southern Calabria, in the “toe” of the Italian peninsula, are also electing a governor, replacing the one who died of cancer while in office last year.