Virginia Raggi

Virginia Elena Raggi (Italian pronunciation: [virˈdʒiːnja ˈraddʒi]; born 18 July 1978) is an Italian lawyer and politician who served as Mayor of Rome from 2016 to 2021 as part of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S). Raggi was both the first candidate from her party and first woman to be elected as mayor of Rome.[1]

Virginia Raggi
Virginia Raggi 2018 (cropped).jpg
45th Mayor of Rome
In office
22 June 2016 – 21 October 2021
Preceded byIgnazio Marino
Succeeded byRoberto Gualtieri
Personal details
Born
Virginia Elena Raggi

(1978-07-18) 18 July 1978 (age 44)
Rome, Italy
Political partyFive Star Movement
Spouse
Andrea Severini
(m. 2008)
Children1
Alma materRoma Tre University
OccupationLawyer
Signature

BackgroundEdit

Raggi was born and raised in the Appio-Latino quarter of Rome, and studied law at the Roma Tre University, specialising in judicial and extrajudicial civil law.[2] Despite not having any prior political experience, she credits the birth of her son for sparking her involvement in politics.[3] She was previously a member of local neighborhood boards before joining the Five Star Movement for Rome district XIV in 2011.[4]

At the time of her election Raggi lived with her family in the Ottavia suburb in Northern Rome.[2] She is married to fellow M5S member Andrea Severini with whom she has one child, born in 2009.[2][5]

Election as mayorEdit

In the 2013 municipal election, Raggi was one of four members of the Five Star Movement elected to Rome city council.[6] The maximum term of office lasts five years, but the resignation of mayor Ignazio Marino (a member of the Democratic Party) triggered early elections; Marino was ousted from office after more than half the city's councillors stepped down. Raggi won the closed primary (against Marcello De Vito — the party's 2013 nominee to the office of mayor — and other minor candidates) in preparation for the upcoming June 2016 Rome municipal early election.[6] Described by The Economist as "a talented debater",[7] Raggi is the first female mayor of the city. She "promised to fight corruption and bring back Rome's splendor a year after a wide-reaching scandal exposed criminal infiltration in city bidding contracts".[8] and opposed the Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics arguing that the city was in a "delicate moment"[9] pointing out the spiralling deficits in Olympic cities.

Raggi and her party (Five Star Movement, M5S) came in first place in the first round of voting (5 June 2016) in the Rome mayoral election, garnering over 35 percent of the vote.[5] In the second round of voting (19 June 2016), Raggi opposed Roberto Giachetti, a member of the Democratic Party (PD) and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies in the XVII Legislature, who obtained over 24 percent of the vote in first round. Raggi won the second round with the 67.2 percent of or slightly over 770,000 votes;[10] she is the first woman and the first member of M5S to hold the office of Mayor of Rome.[1]

Mayor of RomeEdit

 
Virginia Raggi during a public speech as mayor of Rome

One of Raggi's first acts as mayor was the withdrawal of the 2024 Olympic bid stating that "with 13 billion euros in debt, Rome can't afford taking on more debt to make cathedrals in the desert".[11][12]

That position was heavily contested: critics argued that withdrawing the bid wasted the chance of renewing the 1960 Olympic infrastructures with little or no expense, as the funds would have been provided by the IOC (1.5 billion euros), private investors (910 million euros), and the Italian Government (3,2 billion);[13] according to a study from the University Tor Vergata, not hosting the Olympics caused a loss of 7.1 billion gross revenue and also an estimated loss of 40,000 job opportunities.[13]

However, a 2021 paper by the US Council on Foreign Relations on the experience of host cities noted that "a growing number of economists argue that the benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent . . . Impact studies carried out or commissioned by host governments before the games often argue that hosting the event will provide a major economic lift by creating jobs, drawing tourists, and boosting overall economic output. However, research carried out after the games shows that these purported benefits are dubious."[14]

In February 2017, Raggi was put under investigation for two cases of malfeasance in office with regard to decisions on staffing of her private office.[15] However, despite the charges on 10 November 2018 the Court dropped all charges against her due to no motive on her behalf, but instead citing Raffaele Marra as responsible for the illegal hirings.[16]

In December 2017 she confirmed that she would not run for another term in 2021, according to an internal rule of her party that allows only two elected terms.[17] On 11 August 2020, Raggi stated that she would stand for re-election.[18] Three days later M5S members voted to remove the rule banning members from serving more than two terms.[19]

Under her tenure both public transport and waste management were criticed due to poor quality of passenger service and waste collection.[20][21] As of July 2018 more than 30 buses had caught fire since January 2017 because of poor or no maintenance.[22] The event has become so common that the press reports that every time a bus explodes in Rome the first thing people think of is a lack of maintenance by Atac—Rome's public transport company—rather than a terrorist attack.[22][23]

 
Raggi in 2016

A ballot was proposed by the Italian Radicals following the petition signed by 33,000 inhabitants of the city to assign via public tender the public transport service to private contractors in order to provide a more efficient service, but Raggi postponed it first to June 2018 from the initial date of 4 March that year, and then indefinitely in autumn 2018.[24][25][26] Although many people in Rome were not happy with her handling of the ATAC bus situation in Rome and wanted change, only 16.3% voted in the 12 November 2018 ballot, failing to meet the minimum 33.3% needed for approval and leaving the bus service in public hands.[27][28][29] From January 2019 tourist buses were banned from the centre of Rome.[30][31]

The Casamonica crime clan, associated with racketeering, extortion and usury for decades, illegally built garishly decorated villas. Illegally built villas in the Quadraro district were demolished in 2018 during the mayoralty of Virginia Raggi.[32]

In March 2019 Raggi faced calls for her resignation after three of Rome's metro stations were closed due to concerns about malfunctioning escalators.[33]

In 2018 news media reported that the average wait time for waste collection had increased to 2–3 weeks,[34] causing carrion crows, bugs, rats, seagulls and even wild boars to proliferate.[34]

In a September 2017 opinion poll on the approval rating of local administrators, Raggi was rated 88th, with 44.4% approval.[35]

From the 2018 Quality of Life in Italy survey jointly conducted by Italia Oggi, a financial newspaper, and Roma Tre University it emerged that since the previous survey in 2017 the perceived quality of life in Rome under the administration of Raggi had dropped 18 places, from 67th to 85th, making Rome the biggest faller in that ranking.[36]

In June 2019 Raggi stated that 12 million euros would be spent on improving the city's parks and gardens.[37]

ControversyEdit

In 2017, Raggi proposed to collect the coins in the Trevi Fountain and use that money towards the funding of the city. After the backlash the Raggi administration faced she instead scrapped the idea and let the money continue going to charity.[38]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Rosie Scammell (20 June 2016). "Anti-establishment candidates elected to lead Rome and Turin". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Marco Damilano (16 March 2016). "Virginia Raggi, chi è la donna che spaventa Renzi e Berlusconi" [Virginia Raggi, the woman who scares Renzi and Berlusconi]. L'Espresso (in Italian). Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Meet Virginia Raggi, the First Female Mayor of Rome". The Cut. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  4. ^ Raggi, Virginia. "Chi sono: Virginia Raggi" [Who I Am: Virginia Raggi] (in Italian). Five Star Movement. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Five Star Movement candidate Virginia Raggi could become Rome's mayor". The Age. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rosie Scammell (12 June 2016). "Rubbish on the streets, corruption in the air: Rome looks for a clean-up candidate". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  7. ^ (12 March 2016), "Smartening up. An anti-establishment political group becomes slightly more conventional", The Economist. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  8. ^ Pianigiani, Gaia (6 June 2016). "Italy's Five Star Movement Leads in Rome's Mayoral Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  9. ^ Kirchgaessner, Stephanie (19 June 2016). "Virginia Raggi faces five key tests if she becomes Rome mayor". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  10. ^ Passarin, Sara Greta (15 May 2022). "Virginia Raggi, la biografia dell'ex sindaca di Roma". True News. (in Italian). Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  11. ^ "New Rome mayor maintains opposition to 2024 Olympic bid". Business Insider. Associated Press. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Rome 2024 Olympic bid collapses in acrimony". BBC News. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b Bassi, Andrea (22 September 2016). "Con il no alle Olimpiadi Roma perde 5 miliardi e migliaia di posti di lavoro" [With its "No" to the Olympics Rome loses 5 billion Euros and thousands of workplaces]. il Messaggero (in Italian). Rome. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  14. ^ "The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games".
  15. ^ Kaschel, Helena (2 February 2017). "Rome mayor's scandal "a catastrophe for the Five star movement"". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  16. ^ Giuffrida, Angela (10 November 2018). "Court clears Rome's mayor of cronyism and abuse of power". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 900948621.
  17. ^ "Raggi: "Non mi ricandido, c'è la regola. Arrivare viva alla fine sarà un successo"" [I won't be running for a second term. Would be a success to get alive to the end of the first one.]. La Stampa (in Italian). Turin. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Rome Mayor Raggi says she'll stand for re-election - English". 11 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Italy's M5S changes rules to let Rome mayor run again".
  20. ^ Horowitz, Jason (24 December 2018). "Rome in Ruins". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 476794163.
  21. ^ "Roma sommersa dai rifiuti. Virginia Raggi porta il caso in Procura (Rome in ruins by waste. Virginia Raggi takes case to the Procura)". L'Huffington Post (in Italian). 5 January 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  22. ^ a b Serafini, Luka (9 May 2018). "Perché gli autobus a Roma continuano a prendere fuoco?" [Why do Roman buses keep on catching fire?]. The Post Internazionale (in Italian). Rome. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  23. ^ Pianigiani, Gaia (10 May 2018). "Rome Is Burning (or at Least Its Buses Are)". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  24. ^ Perrone, Manuela (27 April 2018). "Roma, referendum Atac: dietro il rinvio gli errori e le aspettative del Campidoglio" [Rome, Atac referendum: behind the postponement, the errors and expectations of the Capitoline Hill]. Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  25. ^ Plaisant, David (10 November 2018). "Exploding buses, collapsing escalators – what's the matter with Rome's transit?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  26. ^ "Raggi: "Il Referendum Atac è consultivo". I radicali: "Il servizio peggiora ogni giorno"". Il Messaggero (in Italian). Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  27. ^ Davidson, Justin (13 November 2018). "Rome Tried to Break Up Its Version of the MTA, and Only Apathy Stopped It". Intelligencer. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  28. ^ "ATAC referendum fails to meet quorum". www.italianinsider.it. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Il referendum su ATAC a Roma è fallito". Il Post (in Italian). 12 November 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  30. ^ "Da gennaio 2019 i bus turistici non potranno entrare nel centro di Roma (Starting January 2019, tourist buses are not allowed in Rome's center area). Raggi: "Battaglia vinta"". L'Huffington Post (in Italian). 14 December 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  31. ^ Caldwell, Zelda (5 January 2019). "Rome bans tourist buses from the city center". Aleteia — Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  32. ^ Giuffrida, Angela (7 June 2022). "Eleven members of Rome-based mafia clan face trial over electricity theft". The Guardian. Rome.
  33. ^ McKenna, Josephine (24 March 2019). "Rome's mayor faces calls to resign after metro breakdown causes city centre to grind to a halt". The Telegraph.
  34. ^ a b Curridori, Francesco (28 April 2018). "A Roma è di nuovo emergenza rifiuti" [Rome is again in waste collection emergency]. il Giornale (in Italian). Milan. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  35. ^ "Raggi solo 88ma tra i sindaci d'Italia" [Raggi only 88th amongst the Italian mayors]. il Tempo (in Italian). Rome. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Qualità della vita: crolla Roma, Bolzano resta prima" [Quality of Life : Rome Collapses, Bolzano Keeps the Leadership]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Rome. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Rome begins €12 million makeover of the city's parks and gardens - The Local". Archived from the original on 7 June 2019.
  38. ^ Katz, Brigit (15 January 2019). "Rome's Mayor Says Coins Tossed Into Trevi Fountain Will Still Go to Poor". Smithsonian. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Rome
2016–2021
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Marcello De Vito (2013)
Five Star Movement nominee for Mayor of Rome
2016, 2021
Succeeded by
TBD