Rome New Mayor: A Star Without Rays

Raggi”, the last name of the new Mayor of Rome, in Italian means “rays”. Today, Virginia (her first name) is radiant by fact not only by name. Most of the main International press is talking about her. Is it because she was elected at the top of the Roman Capitol Hill? No, any other new Mayor wouldn’t have so much visibility for just an election. Is it because she’s coming from a schemes-breaking party? Maybe, but still not enough. In reality, she has so much International attention for the same reason my foreign (female) friends answered when I asked them why they were sharing on Facebook the news on the election of a candidate they really don’t know at all: “simply because she is female and young“. Well, now it’s clear. A bit superficial but clear.

I personally have nothing against women in power, being part of a generation which is used to this, but I can’t digest the hypocrisy of gender discrimination, which leads to opposite side.

So, if a very good mayor gets elected, but he’s a man, maybe over 50 and maybe even rich (as was the centrist candidate in Rome), then no, he couldn’t have been exalted by principle.

Moreover, playing on the longevity of the so known “Eternal City”, it is easy for the International press to publish the attractive news: “After 3000 years, the first woman to rule Rome”.

romolusIt might be even true that from Romulus and Remus there hasn’t been a woman Emperor (who said that Cleopatra wasn’t effectively ruling the Roman Empire at once) nor, obviously, a woman Pope! But the fact that we now have a woman at the top of a city which, unfortunately, became just a – dirty but still the most art-rich – open-sky museum, is just a consequence of a trend revealing nowadays in the world, at least in the western one: women are going to rule more and more.

Already, since more than 10 years, the most powerful politician across the European Continent is a woman. And it also already happened three decades ago up to the Continent. All good? Not really, having also a look at the results of women ruling in Latin America. To give such emphasis to the Rome Major election, just because of “gender” reasons, has then to be seen as very superficial. Already other important European capitals, such as Paris and Madrid, have a woman ruling nowadays or had in the past. So, we could assume, the reason for all this excitement on Raggi’s election could be that she’s young as well. Let’s do not forget that she’s almost the same age of the Prime Minister of her Country. But he’s a man. So probably it is only the mix of both aspects that created such an explosive effect on the media, correct.

I was then wondering: what if Giorgia Meloni, the third-placed candidate for the far right wing party, female and young too, would had won the same election, would the International press make her the Star of the Day such as Virginia? I deeply guess not. And what about Marion Le Pen at the Regional elections? Probably the same. Obviously it is not new that far-right movements has always been an obsession for the International journalists (not really for the voters), but are the International press readers informed that the today-star, Virginia Raggi, young and female, publicly declared to be against recent digital economical platforms such as Uber and Airbnb? Probably not. Maybe they just read she’s against the Olympic candidature for Rome 2024, only because this could be, instead, a good news for many other foreign sport lobbyists and investors.


Then, do they know that Virginia, on the previous elections, was candidate as Councilor together with her husband, but he wasn’t elected while she made it through, partially due to an electoral law which is currently discriminating male candidates (so called “pink quotas”)? Meanwhile, the day after she’s elected Mayor, Raggi’s husband addresses an heartbreaking letter to her, published on the Italian press. The new role of the Male is set down.

raggiMoreover, do they know that the first debate in Rome after her election is how to call Raggi: latin-roots languages have male and female nouns, so “Sindaco” (Mayor in Italian) is a male common noun. Do the Italians have to change their grammar after centuries? And how? That seems to be the useless priority.

Lastly, are the International press readers aware of a possible “tactic” from Renzi and Berlusconi to let the Five Stars Movement win, in order to block it ahead of the national elections in 2018, showing the citizens they cannot govern the “ungovernable” Rome? The fact that the center-left nominated a weak and unknown member of the party, and that the center-right ran incomprehensibly divided with two different candidates, could be a clear sign on that.

Despite that, Virginia Raggi has now an occasion: to be a good Mayor not because she’s female nor because she’s young.

Certainly, the Roman citizens are now expecting a lot from her, after years of city decadence and justice scandals (not only on politicians).

Meanwhile, the International press today just appears on warming up for the election of the first woman as head of the first power in the World. Or at least it hopes so. In any case, the only sure thing now, is that the real most powerful and influencing figure living in Rome, behind the columns of Saint-Peter, for the peace of the International press, can never be a woman.

Carlo De Romanis is Vice-Chair of International Young Democrat Union, Former Member of Rome Municipality and Former Member of Lazio Regional Assembly