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Five Star Movement’s Virginia Raggi has won 67% of the Rome vote and becomes the Italian capital’s first female mayor.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement has won key mayoral races in Rome and Turin, cementing its role in Italian politics.

Virginia Raggi’s victory is a blow to PM Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party (PD), which won in Milan and Bologna.

The results could give anti-globalization Five Star a platform for parliamentary elections due in 2018.

Five Star Movement is aiming to establish itself as the main opposition party ahead of the vote, and its success on June 19 extended well beyond Rome. It won in 19 out of 20 towns and cities in which its candidates stood for mayor.

Chiara Appendino, another female Five Star candidate, has won the race for mayor in Turin, defeating a Democratic Party candidate who had come out on top in the first round of voting two weeks ago.

“It was not a vote of protest, but of pride and change,” Chiara Appendino told supporters, promising to rebuilt trust between the people of Turin and its elected representatives.

Her win, although more narrow than in Rome, was a significant step for Five Star because Turin is a big power base for the PD as well as the headquarters of car-maker Fiat.

Chiara Appendino defeated Piero Fassino, who had been well ahead after the first round of voting.

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

In Rome, 37-year-old lawyer Virginia Raggi promised a new era for the city as she celebrated her victory over PD candidate Roberto Giachetti.

Virginia Raggia said: “I will be a mayor for all Romans. I will restore legality and transparency to the city’s institutions after 20 years of poor governance.”

She will find a city mired in debts of more than €13 billion ($15 billion) – twice its annual budget.

PD’s Ignazio Marino resigned as mayor of Rome in October over an expenses scandal. Rome has been without a mayor since then. Five Star’s rise in Rome was fuelled by a big scandal involving alleged Mafia influence at Rome city hall.

In Naples, Italy’s third city, former prosecutor Luigi de Magistris, a centrist, won a second term with two thirds of the vote.

June 19 results were bad news for PM Matteo Renzi, who has staked his political future on an October referendum in which he wants Italians to back far-reaching constitutional reforms.

The plan is to end Italy’s tradition of “revolving-door” governments and inject stability after years of party infighting and legislative logjams.


Pope Francis has apologized for recent scandals “either in Rome or in the Vatican”.

The pontiff made the surprising apology at his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square, but did not specify which scandals.

Pope Francis is thought to be referring to a senior Polish priest who was dismissed from his Vatican post after announcing he was in a gay relationship.

The Pope’s spokesman said the pontiff had not been referring to the recent resignation of Rome’s mayor.

Father Federico Lombardi admitted to reporters that Pope Francis’ apology had been “broad and generic” but said it did not refer to “political” situations involving Mayor Ignazio Marino, who resigned earlier this week over an expenses scandal.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

The Vatican spokesman said Pope Francis was referring to scandals in which there is a “responsibility of men of the Church”.

To thousands of people who had gathered for his weekly address, Pope Francis said: “Before I begin the Catechism, in the name of the Church, I want to ask you for forgiveness for the scandals that have occurred recently either in Rome or in the Vatican. I ask you for forgiveness.”

The pontiff also said: “The word of Jesus is strong today, woe to the world because of scandals. Jesus is a realist. He says it is inevitable that there will be scandals. But woe to the man who causes scandals.”

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino has come under criticism recently for the slow start in the city’s preparations for the holy year due to begin in the second week of December.

Millions of pilgrims are expected to travel to Rome for a series of Church events, and this will require extra policing and provision of accommodation and food and water.