Marino claims Alemanno "mob link" in TV duel

ROME-- Centre-left candidate Ignazio Marino defeated post-Fascist Gianni Alemanno to become Mayor of Rome in a run-off election Monday, officials said. Alemanno conceded defeat after Marino was projected winning 64 percent of the vote.

 The two candidates previously went head to head in a TV debate on SKY against the backdrop of the Capitoline. Focusing on issues surrounding safety, taxes and mobility, the debate also put the two candidates’ ability to run the city in the spotlight.

Marino ensured he made outgoing mayor Alemanno feel uncomfortable from the start of the debate, ahead of Sunday and Monday's run-off vote, as he focused on this week’s latest scandal over the publication on facebook of a photograph of the mayor with renowned criminal Luciano Casamonica, arrested in 2009 as part of a drug trafficking gang and the notorious ringleader of one of Rome’s high profile corrupt families. In defence of the photo, which was then quickly taken down, Alemanno maintained that there were infact a number of other respected representatives of the Democratic Party present at the same event in which the photograph was taken. Whilst Marino apologised for his comments, he explained "there are also other photos of Alemanno with persons under investigation and this is just the latest step in a campaign marked by infamy".

Lawlessness was a point of discussion during the debate and both candidates agreed that zero tolerance should be shown. Additionally, children should have no right to be begging on the streets because they should be at school. Marino explained how he believes it is the responsibility of various religious authorities to solve the growing problem of the homeless in the city.

The on-going problem of waste disposal in the city was tackled. Whilst Marino pledged to reduce the amount of waste in Rome by 65 per cent, Alemanno expressed a need to find a new public waste dump; the last, Malagrotta, was closed down in 2007 after posing a public health risk.

On the subject of gay marriage, the two candidates remained divided. Alemanno was staunch in his belief that gay marriage at the Capitoline should not be allowed, adamant that this would affect the image of Rome; "Not wanting to be disrespectful to homosexual couples, marriage is between a man and woman, as enshrined in the Constitution". Marino, conversely, maintained that an attitude towards gay marriage should depend on national laws and not by the mayor. He emphasised the importance of ensuring that homosexual couples could be guaranteed the same rights as those of a heterosexual couple.

In a light hearted end to the debate, the two candidates were quizzed on their general knowledge; both failing to perform. When asked to name the seven kings of Rome Marino struggled to remember them all, including the first, Romulus, without the help of the audience. Alemanno was challenged to the Seven Hills of Rome, but responded with the words "I will not participate in this game".