ROME – In a big blow to Italy’s ruling centre-left Democratic Party (DP), the Prime Minister of Italy himself, the Five Star Movement’s (M5S) candidates have been elected to lead the cities of Rome and Turin.

Virginia Raggi, the Five Star Movement’s candidate in Rome, has been elected as the city’s first ever female mayor. “A new era is beginning with us,” said Raggi. “We’ll work to bring back legality and transparency to the city’s institutions.” With a thumping majority, Raggi left her opposition, the Democratic Party’s Roberto Giachetti far behind.

Nine million voters 126 communes, including Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Bologna, took part in the second-round elections, and the result is a clear sway in the popular support for the Five Star Movement.

Other than Rome, the Democratic Party faced a shocking defeat in Turin, but managed to hold on to Milan, Italy’s financial capital. Chiara Appendino, the Five Star Movement’s candidate in Turin, said: “It has been a long journey and finally our time has arrived. We have the possibility to build a new urban community, but above all we have a duty to heal a city which has been deeply injured,”

The Five Star Movement (M5S) is an anti-establishment party founded by former comedian Beppe Grillo. When the M5S began, he wrote on his blog: “Now it’s our turn. And it’s only the beginning.”

– The Global Panorama