Italy. The Five Star Movement scooped up all Roman municipalities but two, sending a blow to the Democratic Party.

Virginia Raggi and company: The new kings of the capital

There is a map of Rome circulating since Monday morning, when the actual data of the Roman polls began to flow and compilation started. That map shows the latest evolution of an ongoing trend almost 30 years in the making.

It is a puzzle composed of 15 pieces of the Capitoline municipalities. There are red pieces, won by the PD [Democratic Party]: These correspond to the municipalities of the historical center and San Lorenzo and Parioli, where the party of Renzi and Giachetti enjoys a relative majority.

The two pieces are literally encircled by yellow pieces. These are the municipalities where the Movement won, often beating the Democratic Party and sometimes Giorgia Meloni. The era when each new suburb was dominated by the Left has passed. But such a steep fall is unprecedented. It deepens the identity crisis of the Roman PD and draws a rather precise composition of the vote.

Starting from Ostia, the city hall dissolved by Capital Mafia, where Virginia Raggi got 44 percent of the vote and passing through Tor Bella Monaca, where the Five Star Movement won 41.04 percent.

The Roman Five Star Movement grew 10.3 percent compared with the 2013 local elections, when it got 24.9 percent of the vote, and almost tripled its loot in comparison to the European 2014 elections, when it stood at 12.8 percent.

However, there is another element that complicates matters. If we color Rome’s map using the preferences expressed by the municipalities’ candidates, the Five Star Movement fills with yellow only five blocks out of 14 (it would be 15, but Ostia did not vote due to the intervention). Faced with those known in those institutions close to the movement, even voting for a strong brand like Five Star is redimensioned.


The yellow-red maps make the eyes of the most voted candidate, Raggi, sparkle. “It is not over: On June 19, we must complete what we started,” she said Monday. “It will be an opportunity to re-write together, definitively, the future of our city.”

After the victory, she avoided all public events. On her agenda, a move more typical of an expert politician than of an outsider, was an evening date before the cameras of the newscaster Bruno Vespa.

If Raggi had assumed the role of the runner on the move, Giachetti is a follower, challenging his opponent to take part in a debate: “I hope I can debate with Raggi on the ideas we have about Rome. Up until now, she has refused.”

Sunday evening, Alessandro Di Battista, a member of the Five Star Movement Board, said on camera that her team of advisers would be announced before the polls. The announcement seems mostly dictated by the euphoria of the moment than by a stroke of nerviness, but in fact Raggi and the magic Roman circle that assists her are doing the checks to identify the nine names (plus one “pro tempore” to the “reorganization of public companies”) of the Five Star town council.

It seems the modern art historian and essayist Tomaso Montanari was offered the Department of Culture, but he declined the offer. For several days, it has been taken for granted that the rugby player Andrea Lijoi should lead the Department of Sport.

Among the hypotheses also is the urban planner Paul Berdini, spotted several times at public meetings of the Five Star Movement. There’s great attention on the budget adviser, who will have to manage the complex issue of the debt burden on the coffers of the City of Rome.

Raggi explained on several occasions that the only criteria will be merit and that “resumes will be analyzed,” but some form of partition is inevitable. This is the reason behind the renewed relationship with Roberta Lombardi, who devoted much of her speech Friday at Piazza del Popolo to the housing emergency. She may be celebrated with the appointment of a director to the competent department.

There is talk of a leader coming straight from the world of the tenant associations. The Rome elections were the first significant affirmation of the Five Star Movement without Beppe Grillo in a predominant role.

Even in small crowds of volunteers and “spokesmen,” an evaluation until recently unthinkable has been going around, or rather an impossible to say out loud without sounding like a dissident: “Grillo’s absence has been positive; his words would have frightened the middle center and the moderate vote.”

“These are the first elections without Casaleggio and Grillo. The latter decided to step aside. This marks the growth of the Movement and we are very satisfied,” said the very orthodox Di Battista.

But the “step aside” announced by the comedian and founder is considered more as a communication tactic than a signal of changes within the structure of the Movement. Until only a few days ago, let’s not forget, we were talking about the suspension of Pizzarotti decided by Casaleggio Jr. and Grillo in the role of “guarantor.”

Grillo’s presence-absence is yet another complexity of the strange animal that is about to enter the control room of the capital.

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