Milan’s top security official has been tapped to run Rome after the mayor was forced to step down by fellow party leaders worried he could not turn around the city, plagued by corruption and inadequate public services.
The Italian Ministry of the Interior on Saturday said Milan Prefect Francesco Paolo Tronca would be in charge until elections for a new mayor of the Italian capital are held, likely in the spring.
Tronca, a native Sicilian, helped ensure security during Milan’s hosting of the World Expo, which ended on Saturday.
Tronca is to take Rome’s helm a few weeks before the first of as many as 30 million pilgrims arrive for the Holy Year declared by Pope Francis.
Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano said Tronca was chosen “because the Holy Year must work like Expo worked.”
“We succeeded in pulling off a mafia-free Expo” by keeping at bay more than 100 businesses that could have had connections with mobsters, Alfano told an Italian radio station.
When elected mayor in 2013, Ignazio Marino inherited an administration in which corruption over the award of public works contracts and political patronage in dishing out jobs had been rife for decades.
Marino called an anti-mafia prosecutor, Alfonso Sabella, to Rome to help ensure legality.
Sabella on Saturday said that for years many public works contracts were awarded without bidding, and that Marino stopped that practice.
However, on Friday, Democratic city council members quit en masse in what amounted to a no-confidence measure against the mayor, and Marino was forced to step down.
Already skeptical that Marino, a transplant surgeon who jumped into politics a decade ago, had the skills to heal Rome, many rebelled after he came under investigation for allegedly using city funds for family dinners.
Marino denied wrongdoing and said his anti-corruption campaign won him political enemies.
Dozens of Democrats and opposition politicians and businessmen are under investigation over allegations of systematic payoffs and kickbacks or for using mafia-like intimidation methods to win public contracts under previous administrations.
A senior UN official has said he is “alarmed” that a peaceful Australian climate protester has been jailed for 15 months — and refused bail before her appeal — amid global outrage at her “disproportionate” punishment. On Friday, Deanna “Violet” Coco was sentenced to 15 months in prison for blocking a single lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April in a protest staged to draw attention to the global climate emergency. “I am alarmed at a NSW court’s prison term against climate protestor Deanna Coco and refusal to grant bail until a March 2023 appeal hearing, ” UN Special
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