Super Mario Boss [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]
Local elections in Italy produced negative results for major parties supporting Premier Mario Monti's government of technocrats showing widespread disgruntlement at mainstream political circle.
Candidates supported by leftist coalitions appeared to be the favorite choice for over six million registered voters who cast their ballot in nearly 1,000 municipalities across the country during the two-day elections that closed on Monday.
Meanwhile, the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered the strongest setback being defeated in strongholds such as Sicily's capital town of Palermo.
However, local analysts said the results especially made clear Italians'dissatisfaction with mainstream political leaders who supported Monti's tough program of austerity reforms amid escalating corruption scandals within their parties.
"If the real loser was PdL, the most interesting novelty was the success gained by Five-star Movement that openly opposes mainstream politicians," political scientist at Verona University Leonida Tedoldi told Xinhua.
The movement, headed by comedian Beppe Grillo, captured a significant share of the votes in various big towns, winning over 19 percent in central Parma, enough to go into the second round, and 14 percent in northern Genoa, where it placed third.
In a press conference on Monday, PdL party secretary Angelino Alfano acknowledged "the election was a defeat" claiming the party was punished for supporting Monti's reforms.
But Leonida pointed out that PdL as well as Northern League party, the rightist former ally of Berlusconi, especially paid the price for recent corruption scandals and incapacity of renovation instead.
He added voters also rewarded candidates who had proved to be trustable, independently from their political background. For example, incumbent Flavio Tosi of the Northern League regained the mayor's seat in Verona with a majority of votes avoiding a runoff.
As the three big mainstream political groups -- the PdL, the center-left Democratic Party and a coalition of centrist parties called the Third Pole -- all support Monti's government, the vote may also change some positions within the coalition ahead of general elections next year, some analysts believe.
That above all was the general dissatisfaction with the entire mainstream political class was also shown by the low turnout of 66. 9 percent, with voter numbers dropping by nearly 7 percent compared with the last local elections.
"Many people in Italy cannot make a living anymore. I recently met many citizens who even lack the money to see a dentist," said a candidate for Five-star Movement in northern Genoa, Paolo Putti.
He stressed political leaders should "bring back to citizens the possibility to be happy" instead of only taking advantage of their position by cultivating their privileges and stealing party funding.
Moreover, in the general negative mood, many Italians' initial trust in Monti has receded as they were exasperated by the major pension cuts and tax hikes adopted by his emergency cabinet to stop Italy's debt crisis spiraling out of control.
"It is very difficult to draw the future scenario of Italy looking at today's election, since they were characterized by local circumstances and strong fragmentation," political science professor at Turin University Luigi Bobbio said.
"But what we can clearly see is Italians' strong protest against austerity measures that have made their lives extremely hard."