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.
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.