Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Voter disaffection continues in Italian local elections

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Rome, May 27 - Ignazio Marino of the center-left
Democratic Party (PD) significantly led projections Monday at
the close of Rome's mayoral elections that were destined to lead
to a runoff as low voter turnout suggested enduring voter
disaffection.
With 43.14%, Marino was ahead of incumbent Mayor Gianni
Alemanno of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of
Silvio Berlusconi with 32.2%, according to the interior
ministry.
"There's a great desire for change in this city. That's
what we've learned. It's what I've heard in recent weeks from
young people, from those who have no home to those who have no
job," Marino told supporters at campaign headquarters.
Despite the wide lead over Alemanno, the two are set to
face off in a runoff ballot since Marino did not claim over 50%
of the vote.
"For me the match is still wide open. We have to fight
until the end for the good of Rome," said Alemanno.
"The runoff isn't the second half of a match but an
entirely different match.
"A significant number of people abstained, and for that
reason we need everyone to turn out (to the runoff)".
Voter turnout in Rome was down more than 20% as polls
closed, the city said.
Only 52.78% of Romans cast ballots over a two-day voting
period, down from 73.52% at the last mayoral elections in 2008.
In elections in 564 towns and cities across Italy Sunday
and Monday, voter turnout was 62.38% of the eligible population,
down almost 15 points.
The ranks of disaffected Italian voters have been growing
especially since inconclusive February general elections led to
a hung parliament and two months of political gridlock, ended
last month by the formation of the unprecedented - and highly
volatile - left-right coalition government of Premier Enrico
Letta.
In a poll last month, fully 50% of those surveyed expressed
no support for any current political party or movement.
Even the 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo,
which rode a highly successful anti-establishment platform to
reap roughly 25% of the vote in February, showed signs of
weakening at the local level Monday in Rome.
Its candidate Marcello De Vito won only 12.4% of the vote,
a far cry from the 27.7% the M5S won in the capital during
general elections.
He was trailed by Alfio Marchini's 9.1% of the vote.
Heading into the vote, both Marchini and De Vito were seen
as potential threats to Marino of the PD, which has seen
disheartened voters, especially young ones, turn to
untraditional parties in recent elections.
PD leader Guglielmo Epifani said the center-left party was
"satisfied, albeit cautious".
"These are encouraging numbers and our blocs and candidates
did well overall," he said.
"The electorate awarded the seriousness and the ability of
our politicians".

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