Rome, June 20 (IANS) Anti-establishment Five Star Movement’s (M5S) Virginia Raggi is set to become Rome’s first woman mayor after winning 67.5 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff election, according to the exit poll.
The 37-year-old’s landslide victory would also strengthen the Five Star Movement as the second main political force at the national level, Xinhua news agency reported.
Her centre-left rival Roberto Giachetti, from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD), won around 32.5 per cent.
The centre-left party has been in charge of Rome for most of the last 22 years. But there has been wide discontent among citizens due to the recent mafia-related corruption scandal and lasting inefficiencies in public services, especially transport, garbage and housing.
A food shopkeeper, who preferred not to be named, complained about the Rome municipal government’s failure to clear rubbish and clean streets, saying the government “leaves our city in disgusting conditions”.
“I am not sure the M5S candidate will be able to improve the situation, but at least she is not linked to the political establishment that has run here for decades,” he said.
The PD’s Rome candidate did not wait for the official results to acknowledge his defeat.
“It has been a tough race, and we were aware of this since the beginning,” Giachetti told supporters and media in the PD headquarters in Rome. “I congratulate Raggi.”
Sunday’s mayoral runoffs took place in 126 cities.