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Election fallout: Rome to lose mayor PDF Print E-mail
Feb 27, 2008 at 12:57 PM

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Walter Veltroni
 Rome's left-leaning mayor Walter Veltroni is running for office again....this time as prime minister. Now the leader of the new-born Partito Democratico (PD), Veltroni - who first took office as mayor in 2001 and ably used his role as mayor of the Eternal City to increase his standing in the country - announced his resignation from the Campidoglio in early February when Italian president Giorgio Napolitano called elections for April 13 and 14th. This means that that on the same day as Italians go to the polls to elect a new parliament - and thus a new government - for their country, Romans will have another decision to make.

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Francesco Rutelli
 Running for mayor on the center-left ticket will be former mayor, Francesco Rutelli, deputy leader of the PD but also a veteran of the Capitol. Rutelli was Rome's mayor from 1993 to 2001 during which time he oversaw various cultural innovations, significant urban restructuring and the challenging organization of the Jubilee year which, in 2000, brought millions of pilgrims to Rome, which is also the seat of the Vatican.

         Rutelli's main opponent on the right will be Gianni Alemanno of the right wing party, Alleanza Nazionale, which is now slated to merge with Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia. (AN's leader, Gianfranco Fini, is supposed to take over from Berlusconi when the latter, now 71, withdraws from politics). In 2006, Alemanno ran unsuccessfully against Veltroni who was, instead re-elected with a massive 61% of the vote. There will be three other candidates on the center-right and one on the center-left but their chances of re-election are nil.

        Veltroni had little choice about resigning since Italian law bars local administrators in cities with a population of over 20,000 to choose between local or national office. But remaining mayor would have been impossible since after the April 13-14 vote, if not prime minister, Veltroni will at the very least be the leader of the opposition. Local elections will also be held in three Italian regions - Sicily, Friuli and Val d'Aosta, 13 of the country's 109 provinces and 539 of its 8000 cities.

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