Italy gears up for local elections

Polling to be held in 1,005 municipalities including four regional capitals.

On Sunday 11 June Italians go to the polls for the first round of voting to elect their local representatives in 1,005 towns and cities across the country.

In all, 9,208,639 Italians out of a total population of around 60 million are eligible to vote, according to interior ministry figures.

Of the municipalities implicated in the vote 161 have more than 15,000 inhabitants and four are regional capitals. These are Catanzaro, Genoa, L’Aquila and Palermo.

In Palermo the contest is between incumbent mayor Leoluca Orlando, who is running for his fifth mandate as mayor, centre-right candidate Fabrizio Ferranelli and Ugo Forello of the anti-establishment Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) of former comedian Beppe Grillo.

In Genoa, the other key city, the contest is between Gianni Crivello of the Partito Democratico (PD) and Luca Pirondini of M5S.

Run-off elections for mayors in municipalities where no candidate takes at least 50 per cent plus one vote on the first round are scheduled to be held on 25 June.

The elections will be the last appointment with the ballot box before the end of the current parliamentary term next February and are an important test for the recently confirmed PD secretary and former prime minister Matteo Renzi.

They also come against the backdrop of new electoral law reform after parts of the 2015 Italicum law pushed through parliament by Renzi were deemed to be unconstitutional.

Now the former prime minister has reached a deal with the M5S and centre-right Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi for a German-style system of proportional representation with an entry bar set at 5 per cent and no winner’s bonus. The bill is currently before the chamber of deputies and proponents say it could win definitive approval by mid-July.

Berlusconi has ruled out the possibility of a grand collation between his party and the PD after general elections, which Renzi wants to be held this autumn.

Prime minister Paolo Gentiloni, who has led the government since Renzi’s defeat in a constitutional reform referendum and subsequent resignation last December, is taking a back seat in the reform process and talk of early elections. However, he has made it clear that his executive “is in the fullness of its powers and has commitments it means to meet".