Sala wins PD primary for Milan mayor

Prime minister Renzi's choice for mayor wins Milan Partito Democratico primary.

Former commissioner for Expo Milano 2015 Giuseppe Sala has scored a clear win in the Milan PD (Democratic Party) primary vote to select a candidate to run for mayor.

Backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Beppe Sala, as he is known to Milanesi, scored just over 42 per cent of the votes, beating runner-up deputy mayor Francesca Balzani, supported by outgoing mayor Pisapia, at 34 per cent.

Milan has won today,” said Sala as the result was announced, “because we’ve shown Milan is a city that can hold primaries fairly.” And he invited Balzani and the third-running candidate Pierfrancesco Majorino to “work together and not fritter away this energy.”

Balzani replied that party unity is now the most important thing to keep the centre-right out of city hall when the election is held in June.

Around 61,000 out of the nearly one million entitled voters turned out for the primary – about 6,000 fewer than in 2010. This was perhaps partly due to the grim weather over the weekend, but also because, after five years of centre-left governance of the city, party activists didn’t feel quite such an urgent need to rally against the opposition.

The centre-right has not yet announced any candidate for the election, but media reports suggest industrialist Stefano Parisi as the most likely name. A former director general of Confindustria, Parisi also has experience as city manager of Milan on his CV.