Italians vote to elect mayors for Rome, Milan and other key cities

Millions of Italians began voting for their new mayors Sunday in Italy. This election was widely seen as a test of political coalitions before the nationwide vote, which is just over a year away.

Italians vote to elect mayors for Rome, Milan and other key cities

On Monday, the two-day period of voting will end. The first results are expected to follow. Many voters will need to wait for two weeks before they find out who their mayor is.

If no candidate receives more than 50%, runoffs will take place in October 17-18 in cities with over 15,000 residents.

Runoffs are likely to be held in nearly all of the major cities' mayoral races, including Bologna and Turin. Giuseppe Sala, Milan Mayor, has stated to supporters that he believes they may be able win enough votes to grant him another five-year term.

The mayoral races are open to approximately 12 million people or 20% of Italy's population.

Virginia Raggi, Rome Mayor, is a well-known populist 5-Star Movement figure who has struggled to retain her office. According to opinion polls, the two most likely candidates in the 22-candidate field with the highest vote-getting will be a center-left Democratic candidate and a right-wing candidate. Both are supported by Matteo Salvini, an anti-migrant League leader, and Giorgia Moloni, a far-right leader of the Brothers of Italy party that has neofascist roots.

Raggi assumed the city's helm in 2016. Many of the problems that plague the Italian capital remain. Many streets were still littered with trash, and several subway stations were closed for maintenance for months. Older buses also broke down along their routes, sometimes setting themselves ablaze.

Raggi cast her vote on Sunday morning, and also inspected the scene of , a fire that destroyed a bridge over the Tiber. Raggi also inspected a settlement of riverbank shelters occupied homeless people, another example of Rome's ongoing problems.

Although they are officially right-wing allies Salvini and Meloni have been carefully assessing each other since both want to become the Italian premier. Both leaders are pressing for a quicker vote, even though a parliamentary election is expected in early 2023.

The 5-Star Movement is currently the largest party in Parliament, but internal disputes have caused it to be divided. Former Premier Giuseppe Conte was elected its leader. He has been trying to heal divisions and heavily backed Raggi. The Democrat Party rejected overtures to support the Democrat running for Rome's mayor.

To counter rising right-wing support, the Democrats will likely need to form an alliance with the Movement. Allies will be essential in the formation of a government after national elections. In Italy, there is no single party that can guarantee a majority in the political spectrum.

As a potential indicator of the sentiment of Italians when they vote for national leadership, we will examine how mayoral alliances do in this month's municipal elections.

Corriere della sera's headline on the election stated that "The competition (and barometer) of leaders" was the result of political party chiefs jockeying for advantage.

Salvini's League is a member of Premier Mario Draghi’s unity government. It was formed earlier in the year to guide the country through the COVID-19 pandemic. Meloni was the sole major leader who refused to join the unorthodox coalition that includes technocrats and ministers from right-wing, leftist, and populist parties.

In 2018, after the triumph of the 5-Stars in the last election to Parliament, the Movement's popularity plunged in both gubernatorial and public opinion polls.

The southern Calabria region, which is located in the "toe” of the Italian Peninsula, has also elected a governor to replace the one who died from cancer last year.

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