Carlo Calenda enters race for Rome mayor

Calenda ends weeks of rumours by declaring himself a candidate in the race for Rome's top job.

Carlo Calenda, the prominent Italian politician and manager, announced his intention last night to run as mayor of Rome in the next municipal election in 2021.

The leader of the liberal and progressive political party Azione made the announcement during the Rai 3 television programme Che Tempo Che Fa, following weeks of speculation.

“I think that whoever has the opportunity to bring this city back among the great European capitals should do it" - said Calenda - "It is a great adventure: I will do it."

Underlining his credentials as a "liberal social democrat," the 47-year-old Calenda added: "Good governance remains a gigantic issue for Italy and even more enormous for Rome."

Born in Rome in 1973, Calenda graduated in law at La Sapienza University, and is married with four children.

Prior to entering politics he served as a manager of Ferrari before becoming the marketing manager of Sky Italia and later serving as assistant to then president of Italy's industrial association Confindustria, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.

Calenda served briefly as Italy's permanent representative to the European Union in 2016 before being appointed Italian minister of economic development, a post he held under the administrations of both Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD).

Calenda parted ways with the PD after the party entered into coalition with the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) in the Conte II cabinet in August 2019.

Asked last night by Che Tempo Che Fa host Fabio Fazio if he could count on the support of the PD for his candidacy, Calenda replied: "They have to do it if they think I'm the right person to govern Rome.” 

Saying he hoped for "broad support," Calenda took a swipe at outgoing mayor Virginia Raggi, who has been in office since 2016, saying that "everything got worse" under her and the M5S.

With the exception of Raggi, who was reconfirmed in the race for Rome's top job by the M5S, notwithstanding some internal friction, the other political parties have yet to announce their candidates.

Those who have declared themselves in the race so far include the 20-year-old entrepreneur Federico Lobuono, running under the “Giovane Rome” civic list, and the outspoken lower house deputy and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi with his liberal "Rinascimento" list.

Rome's municipal elections are due to take place no later than June 2021.