Mayoral races in Italy's 5 biggest cities head to runoffs

AP News
Posted: Jun 05, 2016 7:29 PM
Mayoral races in Italy's 5 biggest cities head to runoffs

MILAN (AP) — Mayoral races on Sunday in Italy's five biggest cities, including the capital Rome, appeared headed to runoffs after no candidate managed the 50-percent hurdle needed to win outright, exit polls and early returns indicated.

The local elections in towns and cities across the country, accounting for one-quarter of Italy's voting population, were a test of support for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's governing Democratic Party.

Turnout appeared abysmally low, below 60 percent in each of the five biggest races, which commentators said was partially due to the single day of voting, compared with two days five years ago, held over a long holiday weekend.

The anti-establishment 5-Star movement was leading the Rome ballot in early returns, as a broad corruption scandal and deteriorating public services have soured many voters on traditional parties. Exit polls showed the 5-Star candidate, Virginia Raggi, was headed to a runoff against either the Democratic Party candidate or that of the center right, who were battling for second place.

In Milan, early returns showed two centrist-managers appeared aded to a runoff, with the former manager of Expo 2015, Giuseppe Sala, running as the Democratic Party candidate against former city manager Stefano Parisi who has broad center-right backing.

The runoffs are scheduled for June 19.