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.”
The victory by Ms. Raggi, who won more than a third of the vote in the first round on June 6, had been expected. But in a more surprising outcome among runoff elections across dozens of Italian cities on Sunday, another Five Star candidate, Chiara Appendino, won in Turin, also defeating a candidate from the Democratic Party.
Mr. Renzi said on Monday that the outcomes reflected local concerns and played down the national ramifications, but party leaders plan to gather on Friday to discuss them.
“I don’t believe this was a protest vote,” Mr. Renzi told reporters, while acknowledging that “it’s a vote of change.” He added, “Those who won were able to better interpret the need for change.”