election for mayor of Rome won by center-left, according to exit polls | Italy

The exit polls for the municipal elections in Rome indicate a clear advantage for the center-left candidate over a competitor of the far-right Brothers of Italy.

Roberto Gualtieri, former Minister of the Economy, led with between 59% and 63% of the vote shortly after the polls closed on Monday, ahead of his rival Enrico Michetti, who had between 37% and 41%.

Gualtieri appears well positioned to succeed Virginia Raggi, a politician from the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), as mayor. Raggi was beaten in the first round as voters turned on her because of the town’s poor maintenance.

“Thanks to the citizens, I am honored,” said Gualtieri. “I’ll be everyone’s mayor.

Exit polls also showed a strong center-left victory in Turin, where Democratic Party candidate Stefano Lo Russo had a clear advantage over League candidate Poalo Damilano, Brothers of Italy and Forza. Italia. Meanwhile, polls showed the right-wing alliance was slightly ahead in the northern city of Trieste.

The apparent victories of the center-left in Rome and Turin come against a backdrop of the renewal of the Democratic Party, whose candidates immediately won in Milan, Bologna and Naples in the first round on October 4 and 5.

Michetti, who was backed by the far-right League of Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi, led the polls in Rome and got the largest share of the vote in the first round, but did not reach the 50 % required to win.

His campaign was tarnished last week after he was forced to apologize to Italy’s Jewish community on charges of anti-Semitism. In an article written in February last year, Michetti, a lawyer and radio host, said victims of other genocides have not received as much attention as those killed in the Holocaust because they ” did not own the banks ”.

The article appeared days before Italy marked the 78th anniversary of the deportation of more than 1,000 Jews from Rome to Auschwitz on October 16.

Michetti also glorified ancient Rome during his campaign, saying the city’s role as the “capital of the world” needed to be restored. He also said the stiff-armed Roman salute, which has fascist overtones, should be revived because it was more hygienic during the time of Covid-19.

Gualtieri will face a huge challenge in managing Rome, a complex city plagued by deep-seated problems. Raggi was grappling with € 13bn (£ 11bn) debt when she took the helm.

A recent survey of the city’s last five mayors found that most had broken promises made during their election campaigns.

The loss of Rome is a blow to M5S, who also lost Turin after Chiara Appendino decided not to run for a second term.

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