Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Rome braces for shift to the right

Latest update : 2008-04-27

Rome voted for a new mayor on Sunday in the second round of a two-day election. The election could replace the centre-left rule for the first time in 15 years after Silvio Berlusconi's political comeback at the national level. (Report: B.Harris)

Romans voted Sunday in an unexpectedly close mayoral election with the right wing aiming to take the Italian capital from the left for the first time in 15 years in the wake of Silvio Berlusconi's political comeback at the national level.
  
The voting Sunday and Monday is the first test for the left two weeks after it went down to Berlusconi's forces by a wider-than-expected margin in general elections.
  
First-round polls for Rome's city hall were inconclusive with outgoing Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli leading but falling short of the 50 percent needed to defeat Gianni Alemmano of Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party at the first hurdle.
  
In the new political landscape created by the national polls, the next Rome mayor will play a larger role, the daily Corriere della Sera wrote Sunday.
  
"If Rutelli wins he will become a symbol of the left's salvation in a country now being ruled by the right," the newspaper said, while a victorious Alemmano "and Rome will embody the new Berlusconi era capable of winning back the capital."
  
Even if Alemanno loses, his surprisingly strong showing will "bring an end to the long years in the wilderness for a right wing prepared to run a capital city that is no longer hostile to it," Corriere said.
  
Rutelli has struggled to shrug off his association with the deeply unpopular outgoing Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and was softer than Alemanno on the issue of security, a central theme in the campaign for Rome after the murder last October of a naval officer's wife blamed on a Romanian immigrant.
  
Two recent rapes blamed on immigrants, an Egyptian and a Romanian, deepened the debate.
  
Alemanno vowed to deport 20,000 immigrants with criminal records while Rutelli said he would boost surveillance and crime prevention measures.
  
Alemanno, agriculture minister in a former Berlusconi government, left the neo-fascist Italian Socialist Movement to join the PDL.
  
Voting was to continue until 10:00 pm on Sunday and resume for eight hours from 7:00 am on Monday.
  
A three-day weekend thanks to Italy's national day on Friday combined with sunny springtime weather may keep many of Rome's nearly 2.5 million voters away from the polls, and observers say lower turnout could benefit the right.
  
Rutelli, vying to return to a job he held already from 1993 to 2001, scored 45.8 percent against Alemanno's 40.7 percent in the April 13-14 first-round vote.
  
The candidate for a small far-right party took 3.3 percent, while the centrist Catholic UDC won 3.1 percent.

Date created : 2008-04-27

COMMENT(S)