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Rome’s mayor forced out a day after reclaiming seat

October 30, 2015

MILAN (AP) — Just a day after rescinding his resignation, Rome’s embattled mayor was forced out of office Friday after the city council yanked its support.

Ignazio Marino acknowledged the end of his turbulent administration in a news conference Friday evening, complaining of backroom politics that hurt transparency after a quorum of 26 council members resigned.

Marino, a transplant surgeon elected in 2013, announced Oct. 12 he was stepping down following reports that he used public funds for private dinners. He always denied wrongdoing, and rescinded the resignation Thursday without explanation, and after getting public shows of support from citizens.

Earlier Friday, he acknowledged that prosecutors were investigating him for the misuse of public funds, but played it down as a pro forma action. Marino was never implicated in the wide-ranging corruption probes of public works contracts involving projects that started before his election.

The political gamesmanship even drew the critical notice of the Roma Catholic Church Rome prepares to host millions of pilgrims for the Holy Year that begins Dec. 8 and runs through late November 2016.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, on Friday wrote that the political shenanigans were “assuming the contours of a farce” and causing damage to the city.

“Rome is waiting to know its future,” the newspaper wrote.

A political outsider who had served in Italy’s Senate, Marino inherited an inefficient garbage collection system and transit service, cannibalized by patronage in previous administrations. As he tried to address these and other issues, he was met by fierce resistance by municipal workers.

He also drew political fire for a series of gaffes, including his absence abroad as the city dealt with the repercussions of an extravagant Mafia funeral, a series of fines for bringing his Fiat Panda into the historic center without a proper permit and a brouhaha that irritated Pope Francis over who had invited him to Philadelphia during the papal visit.

Marino, in his farewell news conference, noted that the hall where city debates are held is named for Julius Caesar, one of Rome’s ancient rulers who famously stabbed in the back by his own senators.


Frances D’Emilio contributed from Rome.

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