The Lega, a right-wing nationalist party, picked up an extra city council seat at the expense of the Liberal party, as voters cast 9,001 votes for Giuliano Bignasca, who died at the age of 67 on March 7th.
The Lega decided to leave Bignasca’s name on the ballot, a decision that was backed by a court although criticized by opponents as a cynical ploy geared to cash in on the colourful politician’s popularity.
Under the proportional representation system in Lugano, the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino’s largest city, Bignasca will be replaced by Lega candidate Michele Foletti, who received 8,875 votes.
Former national and Ticino MP Marco Borradori, another Lega candidate, won the most votes (14,212) outpacing incumbent mayor Giorgio Giudici, of the Liberal party (12,725).
Giduici is to decide in the coming days whether to seek a runoff vote for the mayor’s position, the SDA news agency reported.
The results left the Liberals with two seats (down from three), while the Socialists and the Christian Democrats each have one seat.
Hundreds of people greeted the Lega victory with applause and firecrackers outside the city hall, SDA said.