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Florence elects Sara Funaro as first woman mayor

Funaro defeats former Uffizi director Schmidt.

The Italian city of Florence on Monday elected Sara Funaro as its first woman mayor in a decisive win for the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) councillor.

Funaro won 60 per cent of the vote in a run-off against the German-born former Uffizi head Eike Schmidt who was backed by Giorgia Meloni's right-wing coalition government.

Funaro, 48, was previously a city councillor for education, welfare and immigration in the administration of outgoing centre-left mayor Dario Nardella who wrote on X: "The joy of today is indescribable. Sara Funaro was a great councillor. She will be a great mayor of Florence."

Funaro, a psychologist and psychotherapist by training, also had the backing of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle and the left-wing Greens and Left Alliance (AVS).

She dedicated her victory to her grandfather and former Florence mayor Piero Bargellini who is revered for his handling of the fallout from the city's catastrophic flood in 1966.

Art historian Schmidt, who obtained Italian citizenship last year, was recently appointed director of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, while retaining a seat on the city council in Florence.

Describing his 39 per cent as "an excellent result", Schmidt told Tgr Toscana: "From today I have won the title of leader of the opposition".

The mayoral ballot completed a round of elections in which centre-left parties won in five regional capitals - Bari, Campobasso, Florence, Perugia and Potenza - after winning in the Sardinian capital Cagliari two weeks ago.

In a post on X, the PD leader Elly Schlein wrote: "A historic victory for the PD and the progressive camp. We won in all 6 regional capitals, wresting three from the right and with three new mayors. The cities rejected the right that governs and sent a clear message to Giorgia Meloni. No more cuts to healthcare, no more low wages and no more differentiated autonomy."

The result comes after Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party topped the polls in the European Parliament elections in Italy earlier this month.

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