Virginia Raggi, Five Star Movement (M5S) candidate for the mayoral elections in Rome, speaks during her last campaign meeting on June 17, 2016 at Ostia Lido, Rome's seashore, before the second round of the election. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO
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Voters in the Italian capital went to the polls Sunday with all signs indicating that they will elect Virginia Raggi as the first female mayor of the Eternal City.The telegenic brunette, whose victory would be a blow for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, is the rising star of the populist Five Star movement (M5S), the anti-establishment party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo.More than nine million voters are eligible to take part in Sunday's second round election in 126 communes, including Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Bologna.All eyes are on Five Star which has emerged as the best-supported opposition to the center left, Democratic Party (PD)-led coalition of Renzi, and the stakes are extremely high for a movement that was only founded in 2009 .With the ebullient Renzi's star waning slightly, success in Rome could provide a platform for a tilt at national power in general elections due in 2018 .
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