Italy: Rome elects first female mayor

Italy graphic

Anti-establishment candidate Virginia Raggi has swept to victory in Rome's mayoral race, becoming the first woman to take charge of the Italian capital.

Raggi, a candidate for the anti-globalisation and anti-corruption Five Star Movement, took 67 per cent of the vote.

Her victory came alongside another female Five Star candidate, Chiara Appendino, taking the mayoralty of Turin, a stronghold of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party.

Raggi takes of the Eternal City in the midst of a seemingly eternal financial crisis. Rome has debts of more than €13bn (£10bn) - twice its annual budget - and serious problems with its public services, from transport and housing to roads and rubbish collections.

In 2014, Renzi's government approved a €570m emergency bailout for Rome's council after the then-mayor warned that otherwise essential services would have to stop. The cash was used to pay city employees and ensure transport and waste collections were maintained.

Rome's previous mayor, the Democratic Party's Ignazio Marino, resigned last October following an expenses scandal.

"I will be a mayor for all Romans. I will restore legality and transparency to the city's institutions after 20 years of poor governance," Raggi said.

Five Star was launched in 2009 as a protest movement by comedian and actor Beppe Grillo but has steadily made electoral gains. In the 2013 general election, it took over a quarter of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies.