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Centre left retains Florence and Bari, wins back Perugia in 5-0 regional capital sweep

Centre left retains Florence and Bari, wins back Perugia in 5-0 regional capital sweep

Funaro beats Schmidt in Tuscany, 1st Florentine woman mayor, Leccese wins in Puglia and Ferdinandi in Umbria

ROME, 24 June 2024, 20:26

ANSA English Desk



The centre left has retained the mayoralties of Florence and Bari, according to returns after run-offs Monday, and has won back Perugia from the centre right to sweep all five regional capitals up for the vote including Potenza and Campobasso.
    In the Tuscan capital, centre left candidate Sara Funaro has beaten centre right candidate Eike Schmidt, the German former director of the Uffizi Galleries and current head of Capodimonte in Naples, with Funaro becoming Florence's first female first citizen.
    In the Puglia capital Vito Leccese has been elected ahead of the centre right's Fabio Romito.
    Centre left Democratic Party (PD) leader Elly Schlein phoned the new Florence and Bari mayors to congratulate them on their victories.
    Funaro's predecessor, PD member Dario Nardella, said "Sara will be a very great mayor".
    Funaro said she was thrilled to be the first woman mayor of Florence.
    "I'm a bit excited, I say that sincerely," she said.
    "I feel the very great emotion of all these months, of being the first female first citizen of Florence.
    "It has been a very long and very beautiful marathon," said Funaro.
    Funaro dedicated her win to her late grandfather, the former mayor of the Great Florence Flood of 1966, Christian Democrat Piero Bargellini (1897-1980).
    "From afar I'd like to tell him a phrase that has always stayed in my heart, when he used to say that he had made so many declarations of love for Florence that he had to marry her.
    "I'd like to tell him 'today granddad I'm marrying her too', this wonderful city. I'll give my all to do the best for Florence, I'll be the mayor of all Florentines, male and female".

 PD leader Elly Schlein said after PD-led 'broad field' tickets won mayoral contests in all five regional capital run-offs Monday, plus a recent victory in another one, Cagliari, that Italian cities had given a 'fail' mark to Giorgia Meloni's rightwing government in a clear message to the premier.
"An historic victory for the PD and the progressive camp," she said.
"We won in all six regional capitals, snatching three of them from the right and with three new mayors.
"From Florence to Bari, from Campobasso to Perugia, from Potenza to Cagliari.
"It is irrevocable: the cities have rejected the governing right and sent a clear message to Giorgia Meloni.
"No more cuts to healthcare, no more low wages and no more differentiated autonomy". 
    Leccese, the new mayor of Bari, said "thank you Bari, it is a great victory, beyond all expectations".
    He said "we are only at the beginning because the hard work will start only from the proclamation.
    "It is an extraordinary result, which goes far beyond my expectations".
    In Perugia, capital of Umbria, centre left candidate Vittoria Ferdinandi won by about 53%-47% over the centre right's Margherita Scoccia after the weekend's local election run-offs.
    The other two regional capitals voting, Potenza in Basilicata and Campobasso in Molise, also went to the centre left, the latter by a whisker.
    Marialuisa Forte, in fact, beat Aldo De Benedettis by 51% to 49%.
    In Potenza, on the other hand, Vincenzo Telesca beat Francesco Fanelli by 65% to 35%.
    The biggest city on the roster in Sicily, Caltanissetta, went to the centre right.
    The centre left retained Cremona by 191 votes.
    The turnout for the run-offs was 47.71%, down from 62.83% in the first round two weeks previously.

Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa, a bigwig in Premier Meloni's rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, said poor turnouts adversely affected results in runoffs.
    photo: Funaro


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