A former transplant surgeon has been elected as the new mayor of Rome.
Ignazio Marino, who had a distinguished medical career before becoming a centre-left politician, beat Gianni Alemanno, a centre-right ally of Silvio Berlusconi, winning almost two thirds of the vote.
It is a huge boost for Prime Minister Enrico Letta and a decisive blow for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party.
Ignazio Marino told supporters: “From tomorrow we all must work to change this city, to change it in the small things, to feel it is ours, to bring back to Rome those values which seem to have abandoned it.”
Gianni Alemanno, the man who had been the city’s Mayor since 2008, is a former neo-fascist youth leader. His 2008 win was celebrated by supporters with straight-arm salutes and fascist-era chants.
Alemanno admitted his defeat was “not positive” for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party.
Disillusionment with politics in Italy is high, and voter turnout was low, at just 45 percent. Marino may have got one of the top political jobs in the country, but it’s a tough time to be taking it on.