The city's mayoral elections will go to a run-off on 9-10 June between incumbent mayor and centre-right candidate Gianni Alemanno and his centre-left challenger Ignazio Marino, after neither obtained more than the 50 per cent required to win the contest outright on 26-27 May.
Marino of the Democratic Party (PD) leads with 42 per cent, with Alemanno trailing behind on 30 per cent in the first round of voting, which attracted only 52 per cent of the 2.4 million-strong electorate, down from 74 per cent in the last mayoral election in 2008.
Marino said that the result reflects "the need and desire for change" while Alemanno insists "the match is still wide open." Alemanno will be hoping to repeat his successful comeback when he beat the then leading candidate and former Rome mayor Francesco Rutelli in the 2008 mayoral run-offs.
Trailing far behind the two front-runners were Marcello De Vito of the Movimento 5 Stelle on 12 per cent and independent candidate Alfio Marchini on just under 10 per cent.
Alemanno is a candidate for the People of Freedom (PdL) whose leader and former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi appeared at a poorly-attended pre-election rally in Rome on 24 May. In fact all four pre-election rallies, including those held by Marino, De Vito and Marchini, attracted small crowds.
The run-off takes place on Sunday 9 June from 08.00-22.00 and Monday 10 June from 07.00-15.00.