ROME (Reuters) – Italian municipal and regional elections originally planned for late spring will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, two government sources said on Thursday, amid signs of a surge in cases due to new variants.
Mayoral elections in many of Italy’s major cities – including Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples – will now be held between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, the sources said, adding that the decision was approved by the cabinet in a decree.
A regional vote in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, will also be postponed, they said.
Local ballots are crucial in Italy as they often influence national politics, with party leaders drawing much of their clout from their control of cities and powerful regions.
Most parties from across the political spectrum back a government of national unity led by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, meaning local administrations are one of the few areas where individual parties can apply their own policies.