Italians elect new mayors: first test for Draghi administration

For the first time since Italy received a new government in February, Italians are allowed to go to the polls. Not because Prime Minister Draghi ceases, but because Italians elect a new mayor in more than 1000 municipalities.

Especially in major cities such as Rome, Milan and Naples, these elections are being closely monitored, as the result is a barometer for the political vote in the country.

Waste, public transport and unemployment

Italians base their choice mainly on themes that play local. Rome has been facing a huge waste problem for years. The accumulating mountains of garbage around crowded containers have been attracting ever more and more wild boars in recent months, running across the city in groups. The fact that the current Mayor Virginia Raggi has not been able to solve the problem many Romans resent her.

Someone even gave the wild boar their own Twitter page:

In Naples, the race for mayorship is mainly about unemployment, which has increased after the corona crisis. Young people in particular have a hard time finding jobs in the city. Highly educated young people often move away from the city and underprivileged young people are driven towards criminal organisations such as the camorra.

Correspondent Heleen D‘Haens joined Naples on a campaign with mayor candidate Alexandra Clemente, a 34-year lawyer who opposes the influence of the mafia in the city. She has a personal reason for that: her mother was killed by a stray bullet. In the video she talks about that:

That Clemente will win is quite unlikely. It is not supported by any of the major parties, such as the left-wing Partito Democratico or the right-wing Lega, who push forward a candidate per municipality.

That is why these elections are also important at national level: they are considered to be a showdown between the big parties. It is the first time Italian voters have been able to make their voices heard since Prime Minister Draghi’s government took office in February, and launched an ambitious corona recovery plan.

Does the Lega stay popular?

Judging by the latest polls, it looks like Matteo Salvini‘s right-wing Lega party will be punished strongest. The party has been on an advance for years, but has recently been overtaken by the even more right-wing party Fratelli D’Italia, which is not in the government.

Part of Salvini‘s supporters cut off on the compromises he makes in the government, for example, on mandating the corona pass for almost all Italians who work. In addition, the party struggles internally with some scandals. For example, Salvini’s social media strategy was recently arrested after a drug party with two Romanian boys.

The fact that all five major cities have a right-wing mayor, as Salvini predicted a few months ago, seems unlikely.

On the

other hand, left-wing parties hitched on the popularity of Draghi, who, according to the latest polls, has the confidence of 67 percent of Italian voters. Whether that translates into more mayors and more influence in local government should be seen today and tomorrow. A second round of voting may be followed later in October in large cities.