Center-left wins in Rome, elsewhere in blow to Italy’s right

Oct 18, 2021, 11:49 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm
Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri flashes a v-sign at his party's headquarters in Rom...

Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri flashes a v-sign at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in the Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. Italian writing in background read: 'Thank you! Now Rome. All of us. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — Italy’s center-left forces won big in Rome, Turin and several other mayoral runoffs on Monday, dealing embarrassing defeats to the anti-migrant and far-right parties that are hoping to capture Italy’s premiership in the next national election.

Roberto Gualtieri from Italy’s Democratic Party trounced a challenger who had been selected by the Brothers of Italy, a party with neo-fascist roots, to win Rome’s City Hall, taking some 60% of the vote, with nearly all the ballots counted.

Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta predicted that the center-left wins over right-wing alliances will dampen any push by conservative forces, which include the anti-migrant League party, to hold an early national election. That enhances Premier Mario Draghi’s prospects of continuing in office until Parliament’s term expires in 2023.

Letta also interpreted the Democratic Party-anchored winning alliances as resounding affirmation of Draghi’s tough anti-pandemic policies. Those include a recently implemented Green Pass decree that workers must be vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or test negative for the virus to enter their workplaces. The rule has sparked protests, including violence, mainly by right-wing opponents.

“We (in the center-left) were on the side of broadening the Green Pass, on the side of the wide majority of Italians who want to work and want the country to be relaunched” by emerging from the pandemic, Letta told reporters.

The sole notable defeat for the center-left came in Trieste, where the center-right mayor, Roberto Dipiazza, won another term with 51.5% of the vote. Many angry port workers in that northeast city have opposed the Green Pass rule. On Monday, riot police repeatedly used water cannons to try to break up the protest, but demonstrators were still squaring off with officers into the evening.

In national opinion polls in recent months, both Matteo Salvini of the League and Giorgia Meloni of Brothers of Italy had been neck-in-neck in popularity. Meloni, whose far-right party is Parliament’s main opposition party, bitterly opposed the Green Pass workplace requirement. Salvini, whose League is a Draghi coalition member, had sought vainly to convince Draghi to soften the rule by making COVID-19 tests free to workers who oppose vaccination.

“It had seemed inevitable” that for the right “the only question was who would be the next premier, Salvini or Meloni,” said Letta, but he added that the center-left mayoral wins proved “rosier than any expectations.”

In problem-plagued Rome, Gualtieri defeated Enrico Michetti, a novice politician handpicked by Meloni, who cited the low 40% turnout to diminish the Democratic candidate’s victory.

“When the mayor of Rome is elected by 24% of those eligible to vote … there is a crisis of democracy,” Meloni said.

Gualtieri faces a Herculean task of cleaning up a city where trash and recycling collection is often inadequate, public buses have caught fire and broken elevators have put key subway stations out of service.

But “this city can be re-born,” he insisted.

Meloni conceded “the center-right comes out defeated in these mayoral elections.”

But she contended that it was the populist 5-Stars who had suffered the real “debacle,” which recalibrated Italy’s national politics to a question of center-right vs. center-left. Barely a decade in existence, the 5-Stars’ stunning success in 2018 saw them become Parliament’s largest party and the kingmaker in deciding who became premier.

Rome’s current 5-Star mayor, Virginia Raggi, was eliminated in first-round voting and the 5-Star mayor in Turin had declined to seek another term.

Salvini’s northern-based right-wing party suffered some stinging setbacks in the mayoral races, including a resounding first-round defeat for his candidate for Milan, Italy’s financial capital, which reelected its center-left mayor.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri stands in front of his electoral posters at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Gualtieri is claiming victory after first projections indicated he headed to a resounding victory. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. Italian writing in the background reads 'Thank you! Now Rome! Now all of us. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri prepares to speak at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in the Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. Italian writing in the background reads 'Thank you! Now Rome! Now all of us. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri flashes a v-sign at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in the Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. Italian writing in background read: 'Thank you! Now Gualtieri, now Rome. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri flashes a v-sign at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in the Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Enrico Michetti speaks during a Rome mayoral election campaign rally in Rome,  Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister,  competed in the runoff  Sunday and Monday./LaPresse via AP)
            
              Roberto Gualtieri speaks during a Rome mayoral election campaign rally in Rome, on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister,  competed in the runoff  Sunday and Monday. (Mauro Scrobogna/LaPresse via AP)
            
              Center-left mayoral candidate Roberto Gualtieri flashes a v-sign at his party's headquarters in Rome, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Romans are waiting to learn who will be their next mayor, following runoff elections that ended Monday in the Italian capital. The top vote-getters in the first round of balloting two weeks earlier, Enrico Michetti, a novice politician backed by a far-right leader, and Roberto Gualtieri, a Democrat and former finance minister, competed in the runoff Sunday and Monday. Italian writing in background read: 'Thank you! Now Rome. All of us. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

AP

FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron whispers to U.S. President Joe Biden following their dinner...
Associated Press

Biden, Macron ready to talk Ukraine, trade in state visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is headed to Washington for the first state visit of Joe Biden’s presidency — a revival of diplomatic pageantry that had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden-Macron relationship had a choppy start. Macron briefly recalled France’s ambassador to the United States last year […]
22 hours ago
FILE - An immigrant considered a threat to public safety and national security waits to be processe...
Associated Press

High court to hear arguments over Biden’s deportation policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up a dispute over a blocked Biden administration policy that would prioritize deportation of people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk. Republican-led states sued and won a nationwide court order that is meant to limit immigration officers’ discretion in deciding whom to […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: November 29, Warren Commission appointed

Today in History Today is Tuesday, Nov. 29, the 333rd day of 2022. There are 32 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Nov. 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews; 33 members, including the United States, voted in favor […]
22 hours ago
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. (24) celebrates a touchdown run during the second ...
Associated Press

Snell runs for go-ahead TD, Steelers hold off Colts 24-17

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Benny Snell Jr.’s 2-yard touchdown run with 9:55 left gave Pittsburgh the lead and the Steelers fended off a last-minute comeback bid to beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-17 on Monday night. Snell had 12 carries for a season-high 62 yards after replacing the injured Najee Harris in the third quarter. Harris was […]
22 hours ago
FILE - U.S. Rep. Don McEachin D-4th. waves during a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, f...
Associated Press

Virginia Rep. McEachin dies at 61 after cancer battle

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., died Monday after a battle with colorectal cancer, his office said. He was 61. Tara Rountree, McEachin’s chief of staff, said in a statement late Monday: “Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from […]
22 hours ago
Concrete mixer trucks are parked at a factory in Anyang, South Korea, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. South ...
Associated Press

South Korea orders striking cement truckers back to work

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s government issued an order Tuesday for some of the thousands of truck drivers who have been on strike to return to work, insisting that their nationwide walkout over freight fare issues is hurting an already weak economy. Despite facing the threat of delicensing or even prison terms, the […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Center-left wins in Rome, elsewhere in blow to Italy’s right