Marino elected PD mayoral candidate
Senator Ignazio Marino of the Partito Democratico (PD) became the centre-left candidate for mayor of Rome after winning the primaries on Sunday 7 April.
Marino took about 54 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his main challengers David Sassoli (24 per cent) and Paolo Gentiloni (8 per cent), while the other three candidates Gemma Azuni, Stefania Prestipino and Tommaso Di Mattia trailed far behind.
Turnout was high, with over 100,000 people voting in polling booths across Rome, even though voters were obliged to donate €2 to the party.
Marino, a distinguished surgeon, now enters the upcoming race to the Campidoglio on 26-27 May. He will face incumbent mayor and centre-right candidate Gianni Alemanno (who recently put himself forward for a second term); the lawyer Marcello De Vito from the Movimento 5 Stelle; and the entrepreneur and developer Alfio Marchini, an independent candidate.
However the primary took place amid allegations of misconduct and "vote buying". Cristiana Alicata, a member of the Lazio branch of the PD, referred sarcastically on Facebook to the "usual unbelievable queues of Rom who discover a passion for politics whenever there are primaries." ("Le solite incredibili file di Rom che quando ci sono le primarie si scoprono appassionatissimi di politica".)
She later clarified her statement on her blog, saying that it was “not racism, but statistics” and that it was not directed against members of the Rom community.
In Tor Bella Monaca, a socially and economically disadvantaged suburb of east Rome, the police intervened after a violent argument between members of the PD, over claims that immigrants were witnessed receiving money in exchange for their votes.