Virginia Raggi won a decisive victory on Sunday over rival Roberto Giachetti to become Rome’s first ever female mayor. The vote reflects a widespread discontent in Rome over political corruption, cronyism and diminishing municipal services. The Italian capital’s previous mayor, Ignazio Marino, resigned amidst a scandal regarding his finances.
“A new era is beginning with us,” said Raggi. “We’ll work to bring back legality and transparency to the city’s institutions.”
Raggi will be taking over a city in financial crisis. According to BBC, Rome is currently $15 billion in debt, a sum twice the size of its annual budget. There have even been rumors of Mafia influence in the capital’s city hall.
Raggi is a member of Italy’s up and coming Five Star Movement, founded by comedian Beppe Grillo in 2009. The group has promoted itself as an anti-corruption party from the beginning. She claimed more than 60 percent of the vote. It was predicted by many that she would take the victory, but few excepted her to win by such a large margin.
Raggi was not the only Five Star candidate to win a resounding victory. In the city of Turin, incumbent Democrat Piero Fassino lost his bid for reelection to FSM candidate Chiara Appendino. The Democratic Party’s Giuseppe Sala is predicted to win the mayoral campaign in Milan, but by a small percentage. These elections do not bode well for Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, who backed Roberto Giachetti. He will likely be challenged by the Five Star Movement in the national election in 2018. He gave no immediate response to the voting results in either Rome or Turin.