Rome’s mayor poll has been won by a right-wing candidate. It is the first time in 15 years that the Italian capital will be controlled by the right.
Gianni Alemanno (photo) won 53.6% of the vote, with his centre-left rival Francesco Rutelli, who was outgoing Deputy PM, trailing at 46.3%.
During his campaign, that stressed tackling violent crime, Mr Alemanno, 50, had been criticised for his neo-fascist roots.
His victory sounds like another triumph for newly-elected centre-right PM Silvio Berlusconi.
When his lead became evident, the AFP quoted Mr Alemanno saying :“this long battle has ended with our victory.”
“This wasn’t a victory for a party but for the whole of Rome” he said. “The result shows I received broad support and I will take that into account when governing the city.”
After a series of attacks blamed on immigrants, Mr Alemanno based his campaigned on the ticket of a tough approach on crime. He promised to expel thousands of Roma travellers, living in illegal settlements around the city, and more police on the streets of the city.
Around his neck, the conservative wears a Celtic cross, symbol of the far right.
Gianni Alemanno is a former youth leader of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) and is married to Isabella Rauti, daughter of Pino Rauti, a leading figure on the far right.