Saturday 19 August 2017

Populists' surge in Italy stops amid mayoral elections

Five-Star Movement's leader Beppe Grillo casts his ballots for Italy's mayoral elections in Genoa (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
Five-Star Movement's leader Beppe Grillo casts his ballots for Italy's mayoral elections in Genoa (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Nearly complete Italian mayoral election results confirm that voters have rejected populist candidates.

With most ballots counted from elections a day earlier in a thousand small cities and towns, the Five-Star Movement imploded in all big races including in Genoa, home of leader-comic Beppe Grillo.

Voters thrashed the anti-euro movement, which bills itself as anti-establishment, exactly a year after Five-Star captured Rome's city hall, fuelling the populists' ambitions to win a national election.

In all but one of the top cities up for grabs, candidates from centre-right and centre-left alliances earned berths in June 25 run-offs, since none clinched more than 50% of the votes.

The exception was Palermo, where 40% is the threshold. There anti-Mafia maverick Leoluca Orlando won a fifth term.

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