Around 6.3 million Italians were called to elect the mayors of 790 municipalities from Sunday to Monday, and the election outcome could change the power balance in the government majority and influence alliances in the opposition.
It is the first test for the centre-right government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Fratelli d’Italia/ECR) together with Deputy Prime Ministers Matteo Salvini (Lega/ID) and Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia/EPP), who won the general election as a coalition in September 2022.
The outcome of the elections “may affect the weight of our government,” Forza Italia President Silvio Berlusconi admitted in a video message. While Meloni and Salvini reassure the electorate about the cohesion and understanding of the executive.
“We will go on like trains for five years, nobody will stop us,” said Salvini.
“Either we really change this nation, or there is no need for us to be in government like everyone else. There will be difficult and beautiful days, but I can assure you that when we have finished our work, you will be proud to be Italian,” said Meloni.
It is also an important vote for the Democratic Party (PD/S&D) and its newly elected secretary Elly Schlein, who is campaigning as party leader for the first time.
“There is hope that this round will allow us to win in municipalities where five years ago we did not. We hope and believe in it. We have built broad and articulate coalitions, we are able to do it”, Schlein said.
In four regional capitals (Latina, Pisa, Brindisi, Teramo), PD is allied with the 5 Star Movement of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte even if “there is no structural alliance on the agenda” that goes beyond this electoral round, said Conte.
As with all elections in Italy, the big variable is turnout. At noon on Sunday, the turnout figure, reports the Ministry of the Interior, was 14.21% – down from previous years. In June 2022, 54% of those eligible voted to elect their mayors.
Polling stations will be open until 3 pm on Monday. The vote in Trentino and Valle d’Aosta will be on 21 May, while in Sicily and Sardinia, it will be held on 28 and 29 May.
(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)
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