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Sicily elects openly gay governor

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Supported by a coalition of leftist and Catholic parties, openly gay Rosario Crocetta was elected govenor of Sicily in an election that signalled growing voter discontent with the country's powers-that-be, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a ballot that saw only 47 percent of the electorate turn out, Crocetta, described as a devoted Catholic, prevailed over centre-right candidate Sebastiano Musumeci, who was backed by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. "Today is more than an election result: it is a date with history," Crocetta says. "It's the first time that a candidate for the left has been elected regional governor; it's the first time an anti-mafia candidate has won."

According to The Guardian, Crocetta, who has survived three mafia plots to kill him, persuaded local businesses not to pay protection money to the mafia when he was mayor of the Sicilian city of Gela. 

One mob boss, who reportedly organized a failed hit on Crocetta, apparently called the politician a "queer communist." In his turn, Crocetta, who lives under police protection, suggests that there are a number of gay Cosa Nostra members, saying that "the idea that the mafia is all church, home and shotguns makes me laugh."

After former governor Raffaele Lombardo resigned over mafia allegations and a public-finance crisis, Sicily went to the polls. The region almost went bankrupt during the eurozone crisis; nearly 40 percent of its young people are unemployed.

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