Rome’s first female mayor meets Pope Francis

Rome, July 2 (IANS/AKI) Rome’s first-ever woman mayor, Virginia Raggi, had a private audience on Friday at the Vatican with Pope Francis and said she was overwhelmed by his “profound humanity”.

“What a huge emotion. I am struck by his profound humanity. Thank you,” Raggi wrote on Twitter above a picture she posted of the meeting.

During the audience, Raggi used a tablet to show Francis dozens of video messages of support from Romans living in the capital’s deprived outskirts, telling the popular pontiff to “keep doing what you are doing”.

Also present at the papal audience were Raggi’s nine-year-old son and her parents.

Raggi, from the anti-establishment Five Star movement, was due later on Friday to attend celebrations for the third anniversary of Francis’ pontificate.

The 37-year-old lawyer was elected mayor of Rome last month for the anti-establishment Five Star movement, trouncing Italy’s ruling centre-left democratic party candidate Roberto Giachetti in a run-off on 20 June.

She has vowed to tackle the scourge of widespread graft at city hall, improve rubbish collection, roads, public transport, housing and schools.

Raggi has also promised to pursue the Vatican over allegedly unpaid taxes of 250 million euros and 400 million euros on the Vatican’s real estate holdings and other assets.

Some observers have said Raggi has set herself an impossible task.



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