Monday, June 20, 2016

Rome has its first female mayor

Romans have elected the lovely 37-year-old lawyer Virginia Raggi as their first mayor. She is also the youngest in Rome's history and a sign that Italy wants to get away from its traditional gerontocrazia (rule by old men). She is a member of the newish M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle, Five-Star Movement), a populist anti-establishment party headed by former comedian Beppe Grillo and until his recent death, marketing specialist Gianroberto Casaleggio.

Although she makes a very favorable impression on me (she even speaks English well), I find the entire M5S disquieting. When she ran for mayor, she was asked to sign a contract of sorts which stated that if she damaged the image of the party she would resign and pay 150,000 euros to them in damages. I wonder about the legality of such a contract, and think that as a lawyer she should be wondering, too.

The M5S movement did well in other cities, notably in Turin, where an even younger (31) woman, Chiara Appendino, was elected mayor. All of this is bad news of course for the reigning PD (Democratic Party) and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.