Mayor of Rome resigns over expenses scandal

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 08, 2015 1:45 PM

ROME (Reuters) - Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino resigned on Thursday following a scandal over his credit card expenses that has dented the image of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD).

Marino, a PD member, has denied allegations that he used city money to wine and dine his family and friends in what has become known as the 'Dinner-gate' affair.

He has offered to pay back all the 20,000 euros ($22,500) that he claimed on his official credit card..

"I am resigning," Marino said in a statement, defending his record in office and saying his attempts to build a better future for Rome had been met with "a furious reaction" from vested interests.

The scandal, one of several which have dogged Marino for months, comes as the city struggles to prepare for the forthcoming Roman Catholic Holy Year that is expected to bring millions of visitors to Rome.

His resignation followed a heated meeting of the city government when it became clear he no longer had Renzi's confidence and had lost his majority on the town council.

When the unpopular and isolated Marino initially refused to step down, his closest allies in the city hall said they were resigning and the PD threatened to present a no-confidence vote in its own mayor.

"The end of this administration is inevitable and it will come very soon," Stefano Esposito, who is close to Renzi and has responsibility for Rome's dilapidated bus and underground systems, told reporters hours before Marino resigned.

"We need an authoritative city government. We can't spend our time talking about receipts," Esposito said.

(reporting by Gavin Jones; editing by Richard Balmforth)