Italy local elections: League surges while Five Star Movement struggles

A rightwing coalition led by the anti-immigrant League has won control of several large cities in local elections in Italy, while its new populist government coalition partner Five Star Movement struggled, early results suggested on Monday.

Italy local elections: League surges while Five Star Movement struggles
Voting in Italy's last general election. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The municipal vote was the government's first test at the ballot box after the League and anti-establishment Five Star took office on June 1st following months of political turmoil.

A total of 6.7 million Italians were eligible to vote on Sunday in 760 cities across the country, as well as two of Rome's 15 boroughs. Most of the major cities up for grabs were represented by the centre-left and backed by the former ruling party Democratic Party (PD).

Early results showed the League-led rightwing coalition wresting control of the largest city in play, Sicily's Catania, as well as Vicenza in the northeast, from the centre-left. However, the centre-left looked set to hold on to the northern city of Brescia and will head into run-off votes on June 24th against rightwing candidates in the Tuscany's Pisa and Siena.


The PD's losses follow the party's crushing result in March's parliamentary election, where it garnered just 23 percent.

The rightwing coalition won the most votes with 37 percent while Five Star became the country's biggest party with 33 percent and, after nearly three months of horse-trading, joined forces with the League to form government.

However, early results showed Five Star suffered setbacks on Sunday, winning just 10 percent of the vote in Pisa, and almost 13 percent in Sicily's Messina.

Five Star also failed to win either of the seats in Rome, where the party's Virginia Raggi has been mayor since 2016.


Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP