The centre-left coalition won seven of the 13 provincial capitals that went to runoffs on Sunday in an important round of local elections. They secured Verona, Parma, Piacenza, Cuneo, Catanzaro, Alessandria and Monza.
Italy’s centre-left coalition won seven of 13 provincial capitals in the local elections which went to runoffs. These included the traditionally conservative Verona, where former AS Roma and Italy footballer Damiano Tommasi prevailed to become mayor.
The ballot was the last major test of the strength of political parties before general elections next year. The centre-left coalition led by Democratic party candidates won in seven out of 13 provincial capitals, making inroads in some of the far-right League’s northern strongholds. A further two went to independent civic lists – Como and Viterbo. Thus, the right managed only four election wins in this round.
Significant gain in Verona
The most significant gain was in Verona. There Damiano Tommasi claimed victory over the incumbent mayor, Federico Sboarina, who was a member of the League before switching to the rival Brothers of Italy.
Under Sboarina, Verona was declared an anti-abortion city. There were measures introduced to fund anti-choice groups. The city also hosted a conference of the World Congress of Families (WCF), a US Christian-right supported global coalition, in 2019.
“It’s an historic result for Verona,” said Tommasi. “We put ourselves in the game and we won, demonstrating that politics can be done without insults or responding to provocations. Our political proposal has turned the page for Verona.”
Further surprise wins for the left were in Monza, home of Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, Parma, Cuneo and Catanzaro. A coalition candidate also took the seat from the League in the Piedmont city of Alessandria.
“This result strengthens us in view of the future, in building a centre-left bloc that will be a winner also on a national level, at next year’s political elections,” said the Democratic party leader, Enrico Letta.
Second-generation migrant wins most votes in Verona
The council candidate who won the most votes in Verona’s municipal elections on Sunday is a second-generation immigrant from Togo, 28-year-old Veronica Atitsogbe, ANSA reported.
Born in Verona to Togolese parents, Atitsogbe is a political science graduate. She works in a bank and is among the founders of the Afroveronesi community relations association. She will chair the first council meeting under new centre-left mayor Damiano Tommasi.
Right-wing divisions blamed
The right-wing coalition comprises the League, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia. Divisions among the parties were blamed for the alliance’s losses in the runoffs. This was particularly relevant in Verona where Sboarina did not have the backing of Forza Italia.
Further destabilisation of the right-wing coalition comes from the declining popularity of League leader Matteo Salvini, and the increasing popularity and influence of the Brothers of Italy leader, Giorgia Meloni.
Brothers of Italy currently polls as the biggest party in Italy, ahead of the Democratic party. However, to win general elections, the party would have to unite with the League and Forza Italia.
“I’ll ask for a meeting with Salvini and Berlusconi; we must remember that our opponent is the left,” Meloni said.