Marino told to govern or "go home".
Italian premier Matteo Renzi has said the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino should concentrate on "concrete issues" such as "health and people's problems" – not "strange political games" – and that if he is incapable of governing he should "go home."
Renzi's ultimatum to the embattled mayor and fellow member of his centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) party was made on Italian television on 23 July and comes as the capital continues to make international news for all the wrong reasons.
The latest damning story was published by The New York Times, appearing on the front page of its international version, under the headline "Romans Put Little Faith in Mayor as Their Ancient City Degrades."
The article outlines Marino's "decent" and "honest" credentials but states that many in Rome find him too "weak" and "naïve" to deal with the problems facing the capital, particularly the Mafia Capitale scandal and the degradation of city services.
In mid-June a defiant Marino, a well-known transplant surgeon and one-time senator, insisted that he intended to see out his current five-year term of office, which ends in 2018, before standing for re-election until 2023.
However since then he has lost many key personnel, including his deputy Luigi Nieri who stood down on 14 July, and is having difficulty replacing them. Marino has also become increasingly isolated by senior members of his own party.
Local media has reported PD sources saying that Renzi has little faith in Marino's capacity to steer the capital through the challenges represented by the upcoming Jubilee Year, which starts on 8 December, and its estimated 33 million pilgrims.