Angry voters have swept anti-establishment candidates to power in Rome and Turin, dealing a severe blow to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s political standing — and highlighting his vulnerability as he moves forward with a plan to revise Italy’s Constitution. Mr. Renzi became prime minister two years ago pledging to change Italy’s sclerotic political system, but judging by the results from Sunday, voters have become tired of waiting. Channeling fury over corruption scandals and ineptitude, Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement, a party co-founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo, crushed her opponent from Mr. Renzi’s governing Democratic Party to become the first female mayor of Rome. “A new era begins with us,” Ms. Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer, told reporters early Monday, as polls showed her winning by a ratio of two to one. “I will work to bring legality and transparency.”
Italy: In Race for Mayor of Rome, a Prize and a New Face for the Five Star Movement | The New York Times
When it was founded seven years ago, the Five Star Movement was the voice of anti-establishment protest in Italy, and its biggest voice was the movement’s often bombastic founder and president, the comedian Beppe Grillo. Today, it is a measure of the movement’s maturity that its most prominent new face may be Virginia Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer and municipal councilor who appears poised to become Rome’s mayor in a runoff election on Sunday. In a first round of voting almost two weeks ago, Ms. Raggi, a lawyer whose campaign website describes her as a Catholic and bicycle enthusiast, got more than 35 percent of the vote, but not enough to win outright. She now faces Roberto Giachetti, a longtime lawmaker backed by Italy’s governing party, the Democrats, in a runoff on Sunday.
Italians have begun voting to choose mayors for the country’s largest cities in elections that will test the popularity of the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and could produce a big breakthrough for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Five Star’s Virginia Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer, hopes to become Rome’s first woman mayor and was ahead in opinion polls before their publication stopped 15 days before the vote on Sunday, as required by Italian law. Only in Turin is the candidate of Renzi’s Democratic party, incumbent mayor Piero Fassino, a clear favourite. Renzi has said the elections would have no repercussions for his left-right coalition government.