Rome chooses Ignazio Marino

In his victory photos Ignazio Marino certainly looks happy but also somewhat surprised to find himself the new mayor of Rome. In his victory speech – in true centre-left style – he proudly announced that he had “liberated” the city and promised a “rinascita” (renaissance or rebirth) for Rome and renewed emphasis on culture and archaeology. He said that he will protect the most vulnerable and that he will bring the smile back to politics and the streets of Rome.

The new major is a surgeon by profession (specialising in transplants), a senator in the last parliament and in April he found himself the winner of the crowded centre-left primaries, in the wake of the disastrous general election results for the centre-left in February.

Although he has been elected to office with a convincing majority of 63.93 per cent over 36.07 for the outgoing centre-right mayor Gianni Alemanno, he has also been elected on a wave of abstentions. Only about 48 per cent of those eligible to vote turned out, compared with about 52 per cent in 2008. A casual observer at one of the polling stations in the historic centre on Sunday didn’t see one “young” voter walk through the doors.

The centre-left has reason to smile with Marino at the results of the local elections on 9-10 June. It has held on to difficult seats and won others across the country. It has seen a decline of the Popolo della Libertà and the Lega Nord and a retreat for il Movimento 5 Stelle. Now it has to prove that it can bring the smile back to the face of the disaffected and the young.