M5S disappointed after initial local election results

Luigi Di Maio

ROME – The initial local election results have revealed a positive turnout for the centre-right populist League party, whereas the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) suffered setbacks in several cities, including Rome.

 Local elections were held on Sunday and open to 6.7 million voters in more than 700 cities and towns across Italy. The turnout was low (62%) compared to previous years (67.24%), however a rising trend was recorded in Sicily.

 The M5S, which finally formed a coalition government with the League party on June 1, decided to run alone in the local elections.

 This did not work in their favour, however, after results established Salvini’s anti-immigration party as the rising force between the two.

 "It's a League that grows everywhere," comments Luca Zaia, governor of Veneto.

 In response to the disappointing results, Luigi Di Maio took to Facebook to say: "Every time there are administrative elections the media always say the same old story, that we’re in trouble, that our policies have gone wrong and that we’re close to disappearing. It’s an understanding that has always proved false, and that will be once again. I thank all the candidates and activists that, thanks to their efforts, have obtained these important results and have shown that David continues to beat Goliath."

 The centre-left Democratic Party, which fared badly in the national elections on March 4, lost some important cities like Catania to the League, but conquered others such as Brescia. They are also set to reach the run-offs in several large towns in the centre of the peninsula.

 In the two Roman municipalities the turnout was only 27% and, what’s more, the M5S might be left out of the second round of voting.