Centre-left candidate claims victory in Rome’s mayoral election

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Roberto Gualtieri celebrated at his party's headquarters in Rome.
Roberto Gualtieri celebrated at his party's headquarters in Rome.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Italy's former finance minister Roberto Gualtieri has claimed victory in Rome’s mayoral election run-off.

Partial results on Monday showed that Gualtieri's Democratic Party had a wide advantage over his right-wing challenger.

According to the Interior Ministry, Gualtieri would clinch about 60% of the vote, with Enrico Michetti taking the remaining 40% after polls closed on the second day of voting.

Gualtieri told supporters that he will "work with all my energy" to make Rome deserve the reputation of "a great European capital".

"We will work first and foremost to make the city clean again, we will keep the commitments made during the election campaign," Gualtieri promised after announcing his victory.

The 55-year-old served as minister of finance and economy in former Premier Giuseppe Conte’s short-lived center-left government.

He is expected to succeed Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement (M5S), who was the first woman to be elected mayor of the Italian capital in 2016.

Raggi was eliminated in first-round voting two weeks ago but has pledged to help Gualtieri in his efforts to turn around the city.

Meanwhile Michetti -- a novice politician -- had been hand-picked as a candidate by the leader of a far-right party with neo-fascist roots.

During the campaign, Michetti faced allegations of antisemitism after written remarks by him about the Holocaust surfaced, and he was forced to apologise.

The result in Rome is a blow for the right-wing and far-right coalition, who have already lost mayoral races in key cities such as Milan, Naples, and Bologna.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Turin, nearly complete returns showed that another center-left mayoral candidate, Stefano Lo Russo, was headed to a comfortable victory over a center-right challenger. Outgoing M5S Mayor Chiara Appendino had declined to run for a second term.

With an overall turnout below 45%, the results are not expected to have immediate repercussions for the stability of Prime Minister Mario Draghi's national unity government.