|34th Mayor of Rome|
22 June 2016
Virginia Elena Raggi
18 July 1978
|Political party||Five Star Movement|
|Alma mater||Roma Tre University|
Virginia Elena Raggi (Italian pronunciation: [vir'd?i:nja 'radd?i]; born 18 July 1978) is an Italian lawyer and politician serving as Mayor of Rome since 2016. She represents the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S); Raggi is both the first candidate from her party and first woman to be elected as Rome Mayor.
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. Despite not having any prior political experience, she credits the birth of her son for sparking her involvement in politics. She was previously a member of local neighborhood boards before joining the Five Star Movement for Rome district XIV in 2011.
In the 2013 municipal election, Raggi was one of four members of the Five Star Movement elected to Rome city council. 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. Described by The Economist as "a talented debater", 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". and opposed the Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics arguing that the city was in a "delicate moment" 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. 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; she is the first woman and the first member of M5S to hold the office of 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".
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); 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.
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. 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 being responsible for the illegal hiring practice.
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. On 11 August 2020, Raggi stated that she will stand for re-election. Three days later M5S members voted to remove the rule banning members from serving more than two terms.
Under her tenure both public transport and waste management have been subject of criticism due to poor quality of passenger service and waste collection; as for the former to date (July 2018) more than 30 buses caught fire since January 2017 because of poor or absent maintenance. The event has become so common that the press reports that every time a bus explodes in Rome the first thing people think to by now is a lack of service of Atac - Rome's public transport company - rather than a terrorist attack.
A ballot has been 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 give a more efficient service but Raggi has postponed it first to June 2018 from the initial date of 4 March and then to an undetermined date in Autumn 2018. Although many people from Rome were not happy with her handling of the ATAC bus situation in Rome and wanted change, only 16.3% showed up to vote, failing to meet the minimum 33.3% needed for approval. On 12 November 2018 the failed ATAC referendum meant that the buses would continue being run by public means. Furthermore, in trying to control the bus and environmental conditions in Rome, starting January 2019 buses found to be in the red zone (popular tourist attractions in the centre of Rome) will be cited due to them being prohibited.
In March 2019 Raggi faced calls for her resignation after three of Rome's metro stations were closed due to concerns about malfunctioning escalators.
As for waste management, far from getting better, the press reports that the average wait time of the waste collection has expanded up to 2-3 weeks with accumulation of garbage out and near of the full waste containers in the street, especially in the peripheral quarters of the city where the press is less likely to investigate; the continuing presence of waste on the streets caused the uncontrolled onset of carrion crows, bugs, rats, seagulls and even wild boars.
In the most recent (September 2017) opinion poll to measure the approval rating of the local administrators of regions, provinces and cities of Italy, Raggi resulted only the 88th best mayor with only 44.4% of approval.
From the 2018 Quality of Life in Italy survey jointly conducted by Italia Oggi, a financial newspaper, and Roma Tre University emerged that since the previous survey in 2017 the perceived quality of life in Rome under the administration of Raggi has dropped of 18 places, from 67th to 85th, making Rome the biggest faller in that ranking.
In June 2019 Raggi stated that 12 million euros would be spent on improving the city's parks and gardens.
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.