Report. The center-left is ahead in Como, Parma, Piacenza, Lucca and Cuneo. The right leads in Catanzaro. In Verona, the incumbent mayor is resorting to transphobia.

From Verona to Monza, 13 Italian cities have runoff elections, some surprising

There are 13 head-to-head matches whose final round is still to be played out, in just under two weeks. In 13 capitals out of the 26 total who voted to elect their leadership in the 2022 Italian municipal elections, the winner will be decided after a runoff.

In the PD, leaders are feeling a certain level of optimism: “We’ve only played the first half,” says Francesco Boccia, who sees a chance to surpass the six capitals the party won in 2017.

After winning the three contests in Padua, Taranto and (surprisingly) Lodi in the first round, the Dems together with their allies have decent chances to win in Parma (where Michele Guerra is at 44.1% against 21.3% for the FdI’s Pietro Vignali), Piacenza, Cuneo, Como and Lucca.

In Como, Barbara Minghetti is leading with 39.4%. Her challenger will not be the FdI physician Giordano Molteni, backed by the center-right, but the civic alliance candidate Alessandro Rapinese (27.6%), who edged out Molteni by around 100 votes. After the torpedoing of outgoing mayor Mario Landriscina, and a bitter tug-of-war between Meloni and Salvini, the local FdI leader had eventually won out — but he failed to make the runoff, with the Lega at just 6% in one of its strongholds. In latest news, the right wingers announced that they have filed an appeal before the Administrative Tribunal after asking for a recount.

In Cuneo, the PD’s Patrizia Manassero came close to winning in the first round with 47%. She will be up against Franco Civallero of the center-right (19.9%) on June 26. Luciana Toselli (16.4%), backed by the left, barely missed the runoff.

In Piacenza, PD regional councilwoman Katia Tarasconi (39.9%), in a surprising result, narrowly edged out the incumbent right-wing mayor Patrizia Barbieri (37.7%). In the runoff, Tarasconi will also count on the support of the 10% who voted for Stefano Cugini, a former Democrat supported by the Greens, left and M5S. In Lucca, former PD alderman Francesco Raspini (42.7%) is a favorite in the runoff against Mario Raspini from the right, who managed only 34.3%.

The runoff in Monza is one to watch, where Paolo Pilotto (with 39.8%) managed to deny a first round victory to the center-right incumbent mayor Dario Allevi, who got 47.5%. It will be a tough challenge to unseat him, but not an impossible one.

Also noteworthy is the result in Sesto San Giovanni, where Italian leftist candidate Michele Foggetta (38.4%), also supported by the PD and M5S, managed to fight right-wing mayor Roberto Di Stefano down to 48.9%, leading to a runoff. In Frosinone, Riccardo Mastrangeli, of the right-wing alliance, was also denied a first round win, with 49.7% against the 39.2% for the yellow-red Domenico Marzi.

Verona will be the real headline clash, the one that will set the overall tone for this round of elections. Damiano Tommasi, the soft-spoken former soccer player, came in first with 39.9%, ahead of outgoing FdI mayor Federico Sboarina at 32.6%. Tommasi’s challenge is all about bringing voters back to the polls, and persuading the 25,000 or so Veronese (23.8%) who voted for former mayor Flavio Tosi on Sunday.

Playing in Tommasi’s favor are the bad relations between Tosi and Sboarina. Salvini is trying to patch things up (“We need to talk to each other”), and so is Berlusconi, who supported Tosi in the first round. Berlusconi is enjoying reliving his old days as a kingmaker: he said he has “very good personal relations” with Tommasi, and at the same time he asked the League and FdI for a “political agreement” before deciding where he would throw his support – “but all I hear from Sboarina is silence,” he complained. Tommasi has run a good campaign, framing the clash as one of “future versus past.” The incumbent mayor, in a tight spot, brought out the specter of “Verona as transgender capital” if the former soccer player wins.

For the center-right, the races where they clearly hold the upper hand for the runoff are in Gorizia (Rodolfo Ziberna at 41.8% against the PD-M5S’s Laura Fasiolo at 30.7%) and Catanzaro, which would be the fourth regional capital for them after Palermo, Genoa and L’Aquila. In the Calabrian capital, the former PD defector Valerio Donato is at 44 percent, with leftist candidate Nicola Fiorita behind at 31.7%. The center-right candidate can also count on the votes of FdI’s Wanda Ferro (9.1%), and possibly those of (right-flavored) centrist Antonello Talerico (13.1%) – who, however, has already ruled out supporting Donato: “I’m not going to stand with him.”

The runoffs will be on a knife’s edge in Alessandria and Barletta. In the Piedmontese city, center-left candidate Giorgio Abonante was very narrowly ahead of outgoing mayor Gianfranco Cuttica, with 42%. The latter’s former alderman Giovanni Barosini ran as well, supported by Azione and +Europa, and took 14.6%. But it is by no means a given that Barosini will ally with the center-right in the second round: he is currently in ongoing talks with Abonante.

In Barletta, the center-right is ahead with a shaky lead: former mayor Cosimo Cannito is at 42.2%, with center-left challenger Santa Scommegna at 36.6%. Carmine Doronzo, supported by Italian Left, came in third with 18.4%.

Also notable was the result from Polignano a Mare, where the runoff will be between M5S candidate Maria La Ghezza (35%) and leftist Vito Carrieri (23.1%). Finally, in Viterbo, PD’s Alessandra Troncarelli (29.7%) will be up against civic alliance candidate Chiara Frontini (32.2%) in the runoff, pushing out the right-wingers entirely.

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