Italian populist Lega leader Matteo Salvini has named Islam as one of the greatest threats to Italy and has promised to not only carry out deportations of illegals but secure all aspects of the Italian border on land and sea.
Salvini, who hopes to best his coalition partner Forza Italia in the national election in March and become prime minister, made the explosive remarks in an interview with Italian newspaper il Giornale this week.
The Lega leader reiterated his plans to deport some 500,000 illegal immigrants over a five-year period if he becomes prime minister, saying: “The first option is to secure the borders, from the Alps to Sicily. Enough, do not pass, stop. Because illegal immigration means delinquency. The crisis of this country is to clean up, restore the rules, lock the borders, punish, and expel.”
He also took shots at Islam, saying: “Today’s Islam is a danger. I do not want it, unless it evolves and opens up, otherwise it’s a danger. A Salvini government will put a stop to any irregular or abusive Islamic presence in Italy.”
On economic issues, Salvini praised U.S. President Donald Trump: “Europe already has 52 tariffs that protect European goods, I say that, as Trump defends washing machines and solar panels, we have a duty to defend some of our productions. I think of textiles, shoes, toys, and what we eat and drink.”
“Long live the free market, live the free trade but I defend the work and health of the Italians,” he added.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 26, 2016
Salvini has been a long-time supporter of Trump telling Breitbart News last year: “On many issues, we see eye-to-eye with President Trump and we look forward to partnering with his administration.”
Renzi also took a swipe at the main rivals to his centre-right coalition, led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement. He called both factions “leftist movements” but added that his main opponent was Renzi whom he wanted to “send home”.
Recent polls show that while the Five Star Movement leads the other parties, they lag behind the centre-right coalition and the centre-left coalition.
The Five Star Movement has also been caught in internal turmoil after the founder of the movement Beppe Grillo announced earlier this month that he would be stepping back. Grillo said that he had become “fed up” with politics.