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The mayor of a small Italian town has resigned after increasing threats and attacks by the mafia, the BBC reports.When she took up office as mayor of Monasterace in 2006, Maria Carmela Lanzetta found a large amount of debt. She says she enacted reforms to balance the accounts of the town hall, and got people to pay overdue bills and taxes, which was met with stiff resistance, Corriere della Calabria reports.
Several months ago her pharmacy, was set on fire and last week shots were fired into her parked car just outside her home, which was the last straw.
Lanzetta’s problem is endemic to southern Italy. There were 212 cases of intimidation of local officials from organised crime in 2010, 41 per cent of them in Calabria, where Monasterace is located, according to Avviso Pubblico, an association of public officials formed to combat mafia pressure.
Lanzetta believes she was targeted by the local mafia because she tried to impose a degree of order in the running of the town. She has spoken of feeling “helpless and alone” in the face of the threats, adding that the organised crime was stronger than elected representatives in the “ungovernable” town.
Senior officials in Calabria conceded the Italian state had failed to support Lanzetta, and that mafia activity weakened the viability of democracy in the area.
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