Counting down to Rome elections

At present five candidates are running for Rome mayor in June.

There are currently five main candidates in the running for the post of Rome mayor in local elections on 5 June, with the second-round ballot scheduled for 19 June.

However, it is just possible that Stefano Fassina on the left will have to abandon the race because of irregularities in the presentation of his electoral list. The case is before the Lazio regional administrative tribunal, which is set to hand down a ruling on 13 May. In the event of his exclusion, his votes are more likely to go to Virginia Raggi of the Movimento Cinque Stelle than to Roberto Giachetti of the Partito Democratico, who won the centre-left primaries in March.

Stefano Fassina, 50, economist and candidate of the small left-wing movement Sinistra Italiana (SI) under the campaign slogan ‘La meglio Roma’ (The best Rome). As an economist he has held various positions in government institutions, as well as working for five years for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. He began his political career in 2009 as coordinator on economic issues for the Partito Democratico (PD) and was elected to the chamber of deputies in 2013. He served as deputy economy minister in the unity government led by Enrico Letta until January 2014, when he resigned after coming into collision course with the newly elected PD secretary and future prime minister Matteo Renzi. He went on to become one of Renzi’s staunchest critics within the party, before eventually breaking ranks to form SI along with Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL) in November 2015.

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Roberto Giachetti, 55, centre-left candidate considered close to Renzi. Current deputy speaker of the chamber of deputies, former chief of cabinet in the city administration led by Francesco Rutelli (1993-2001). Following early militancy in the Radical Party he co-founded the now defunct centre-left Margherita before jumping onto the new PD bandwagon in 2007. He is a regular hunger striker and takes a particular interest in human and civil rights, the conditions in Italian jails, environmental protection and sustainable development. He is also passionate about institutional regulations and has earned a reputation for knowing the rules governing the chamber of deputies like the back of his hand. He has been an MP since 2001 but his parliamentary activity has always been accompanied by initiatives aimed at encouraging grass-roots participation especially among young people.

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Alfio Marchini, 51, financier and entrepreneur initially running on a civic list under the slogan ‘Io ci metto il cuore’ (I put my heart into it) with backing from junior government partner Nuovo Centrodestra (NCD), before receiving the official backing of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party after its original candidate, former civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso, pulled out in April. Marchini took over the family construction business in 1988, shortly before graduating in civil engineering aged 23. He has historical ties to the former Italian Communist Party through his late grandfather Alfio, a member of a partisan group (GAP) during the second world war, but he also has many friends on the political right and is a practicing Catholic with alleged links to Opus Dei. In the mid 1990s he served briefly on the board of directors of state broadcaster RAI and as president of its then adverting arm SIPRA, and he is also an ex board member of several banks. He is the president of the Italian board of the Shimon Peres Centre for Peace and is a founding member of two Italian political think-tank organisations. He is the former captain of Italy's national polo team. He was elected to Rome city council on a civic list after making an unsuccessful bid for the mayorship in 2013. As a sports enthusiast he is a strong supporter of Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. He has created controversy by saying as mayor he would not celebrate civil unions for same-sex couples under legislation that won definitive approval from parliament on May 11.

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Giorgia Meloni, 39, candidate of the small right-wing party Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), of which she is president, with support from the Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant Lega Nord (LN). She began her political career in the student arm of right-wing Alleanza Nazionale (AN), and was first elected to parliament with the party in 2006. She served as deputy speaker of the chamber of deputies from 2006 to 2008 and as minister for youth in the fourth Berlusconi government from 2008 to 2011, becoming the youngest person ever to hold such positions. She left Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (PdL) – a party formed in 2009 from the merger of AN and Forza Italia – to create FdI in 2012. She is expecting her first child this summer.

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Virginia Raggi, 37, candidate of the anti-establishment Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) under the slogan ‘Roma ai Romani’ (Rome for the Romans). She is a civil lawyer specialising in intellectual property and did her legal apprenticeship in the Rome firm of lawyers founded by ex defence minister and former Berlusconi aide Cesare Previti, a convicted criminal. A mother of one with a passion for two-wheeled travel, she joined M5S in 2011 and was elected to Rome city council in 2013. She is opposed to Rome’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games and says she wants a “frank” relationship with Renzi if elected.

virginia raggi

Opinion polls conducted ahead of the deadline for presenting electoral lists in early May put Raggi in the lead with around 28 per cent, followed by Giachetti, Meloni and Marchini all with around 20 per cent. In the likely event of a run-off Raggi also looked set to prevail over all her competitors, with her hardest battle predicted to be against Marchini according to a Tecné poll conducted for Tgcom24.

Laura Clarke

First published in the May paper edition of Wanted in Rome before Guido Bertolaso, Silvio Berlusconi's choice of candidate for Forza Italia, decided to drop out of the race.

For other articles by Laura Clarke see her blog Laura in Italy