ROME, October 18 (Reuters) – Center-left candidates appeared poised for resounding victories in the Rome and Turin municipal elections, according to Monday’s exit polls which predicted they had swept away opponents of center-right in secondary polls.
If the exit polls are confirmed, they will complete a series of center-left triumphs in Italy’s biggest cities and mark a setback for the right-wing alliance which is nevertheless favorite to win the next planned national elections. in 2023.
The center-left candidates had already easily won Milan, Naples and Bologna two weeks ago without needing a second round. Read more
The results are not expected to have any immediate repercussions on the stability of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government of national unity, analysts say.
In Rome, former Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri of the Democratic Party (PD), won 59-63% of the vote against right-wing Enrico Michetti out of 37-41%, according to an exit poll by the Opinio consortium of pollsters for the RAI. state television.
In Turin, Stefano Lo Russo of the PD won with 56-60% against right-hander Paolo Damilano on 40-44%.
Both cities were previously ruled by the 5 Star Movement, whose candidates were beaten in the first round.
In Rome, Gualtieri fell three points behind in the first round, but seems to have garnered most of the votes from those who supported the first-round losers – outgoing 5-star mayor Virginia Raggi and Carlo Calenda, an independent centrist.
Gualtieri faces a daunting task to solve the capital’s most chronic problems, including haphazard garbage collection and a dilapidated and inadequate public transport system.
The results are a blow to Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, respective leaders of the Right-Wing League and the Brothers of Italy who dominate a conservative alliance that leads nationally, according to recent opinion polls.
However, the right-wing bloc, which includes Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, draws most of its support from small towns and villages, and analysts say it can be misleading to draw national conclusions from mayors’ votes.
“Right-wing voters tend to mobilize more in national elections than in local elections,” said pollster Antonio Noto of the Opinio Consortium.
The turnout in municipal elections was particularly low, with less than 50% of eligible voters voting.
The next legislative elections are shaping up to be a battle between the right and a center-left bloc led by the PD and the Five Star Movement.
Among the other cities at stake in the municipal elections, the right was in danger of losing a huge first-round lead in northeast Trieste, where the exit ballot indicated a neck-and-neck race with the center-left.
Another closely watched town is Varese, where Salvini intends to keep the League’s traditional stronghold near the Swiss border.
Reporting by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante, editing by Crispian Balmer
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