Roma fest watches polls

Changes hinge on election outcome

The Rome mayoral election could have major implications for the 3-year-old RomaCinemaFest.

Downsizing the festival has become one of the major planks in the platform of Gianni Alemanno, one of the two major candidates seeking to replace festival founder Walter Veltroni as mayor of the Italian capital.

Alemanno, a member of parliament, is running as the main center-right candidate, facing former Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli from the center left. Voting will take place Sunday and Monday, and polls indicate a close race.

Veltroni stepped down as mayor to run for prime minister two weeks ago. He was defeated by media tycoon and Alemanno ally Silvio Berlusconi.

Alemanno said he wants to replace some of the festival's top management, shrink the festival's staff of more than 650 and reduce the festival's €15 million ($23.9 million) budget by at least €1 million ($1.6 million).

Rutelli, a longtime ally of Veltroni's, has said he has no major changes planned for the festival.

Fest organizers declined comment on Alemanno's statements.