Rome mayor refuses to quit over driving fines

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Ignazio Marino said he had personally paid the fines, even though he didn't have to. Photo: Beatrice di Caro/AFP
10:56 CET+01:00
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on Tuesday refused to step down over accusations he had failed to pay driving fines, slamming his detractors for their "unjustified" criticism.

Addressing city hall councillors, Marino said that he had personally paid the €1,021.52 in fines despite being exempt as mayor.

“I didn’t have to pay, but I wanted to pay, in order to avoid creating a conflict between the mayor and the administration and to eliminate any remaining doubt over the regularity of what happened,” he said.

Marino came under fire earlier this month for driving around Rome’s traffic controlled zone (ZTL) with an expired permit.

But in defending himself on Tuesday, the mayor said the expired permit fines only came up due to an administrative error. He has the right to four free permits but chooses to have just one, driving his “famous red Panda” and a bicycle around the city.

“I have heard and read about the completely unjustified hypotheses and words [against me]. I have read about my resignation and, to tell you the truth, I smiled.

“Who says things or writes about my resignation must really not comprehend the magnitude of the challenge we face. It is not a personal challenge. It is the ambition to change Rome,” the mayor said.

READ MORE: Outcry as Rome mayor flouts city's driving rules

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Marino went on to suggest that his critics were worried about the impact of “the work that we are doing”, which includes a fight against corruption and abuse of the system.

But despite his attempts to put an end to the driving debate, Marino was met with protest at city hall. A group of people wearing red clown noses held up “shameful” and “resign” signs, photographed by Italian media.

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