This year we will have municipal elections in many Italian cities. The municipal governments are the democratic institutions that are closest to the citizens and that can best meet their economic and social needs and practices and their quality of life, especially in big cities.
In fact, since the introduction of the present electoral system that allows local governance, the democratic relationship between voters and elected representatives has become closer, and the responsibility of the results more obvious.
But what do citizens expect from municipal governments - and in particular from the mayor - elected by them?
In my judgment, the general expectations in the big cities are as follows, in order of priority:
1 Labour offer.
2 Safety of citizens.
3 Urban mobility.
4 Cleanliness of the city (including waste management).
5 Administrative meritocracy, honesty and transparency.
6 Pervasive lawfulness in every aspect of common living.
7 Cultural offer (schools, museums, entertainment, sports ...) and protection of cultural heritage.
8 Healthcare delivery.
9 Low pollution (air, water, sound, etc).
10 Cost of living, in particular for housing.
Point N. 1 depends more on national policies than local ones. But the mayor and his administration can create favourable conditions for developing local economic initiatives and attracting external economic flows, both through tourism and with the arrival of capital and "brains" from other areas, both domestic and foreign.
However, the four points on which the judgment of the citizens is more direct and the results more easily measurable are points N. 2, 3, 4, and 5:
CLEANLINESS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
MERITOCRACY / HONESTY / TRANSPARENCY
Already in one five year term the municipal administration’s impact on these points may be noticeable and measurable. In addition, they are the necessary preconditions to earn the trust of the citizens and to create a base for the realization of the other points.