Members of Italy’s ruling 5-Star Movement (M5S) voted through changes in its internal rules yesterday which will allow its mayor of Rome to run for a second term.
In another policy shift, members also approved a proposal to allow the movement to form alliances with other parties at upcoming mayoral elections, paving the way for deals at the local level with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
Virginia Raggi, 42, became the Eternal City’s first woman mayor when elected in 2016, in a breakthrough for M5S which went on to victory at national elections two years later and now governs the country in coalition with the PD.
Raggi announced this week she wanted to bid for re-election in 2021, but this ran afoul of a long-standing M5S rule forbidding members to hold elected office – even in different posts – for more than two terms.
Raggi is already in her second elected position, having served as a city councillor before becoming mayor.
M5S’s top brass, which had long considered amending the two-term rule, announced after Raggi’s decision that it would be put to a vote of members on the party’s Internet platform.
The proposal that a first term as a town councillor should not count for the purposes of the rule was backed by 80% to 20%.
The second proposal, allowing for pre-election pacts with other parties at mayoral elections, was approved by 60% to 40%.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, M5S former leader and still its most influential figure, said that the votes marked “a new era” for the movement, which normally struggles in local ballots against centre-left and centre-right alliances.
“Good luck to Virginia Raggi for her re-election and to all our mayoral candidates who will be at the head of coalitions,” Di Maio posted on Facebook.
The M5S has shed support over the last two years and is now polling at around 16%, compared with the 32% it won at the 2018 election.
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