The anti-mass migration populist La Lega party is polling in second place nationally, passing the former ruling Democratic Party (PD), as leader Matteo Salvini works to form a government with the Five Star Movement.
The Bidimedia poll puts La Lega at 20 per cent – ahead of the PD, which is at 18 per cent, but still behind the Five Star Movement (M5S) which remains the single largest party in the country at 34 per cent.
Italy, Bidimedia poll:
M5S-EFDD: 34% (+1)
LEGA-ENF: 20% (+3)
PD-S&D: 18% (-1)
FI-EPP: 13% (-1)
+E-ALDE: 2% (-1)
Field work: 21/03/18 – 25/03/18
Sample size: 860
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) April 4, 2018
La Lega shocked many by winning a larger vote share than their coalition partner Forza Italia (FI) in the Italian national election in March, and now leads the centre-right coalition which beat the standalone M5S on election day.
As a result of the election, La Lega leader Matteo Salvini, known for his fiery rhetoric against mass migration and for promising to deport 500,000 illegal migrants, has put himself forward to be the next Italian Prime Minister.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 3, 2017
Initially, Salvini refused to consider the possibility of a deal with M5S despite both parties being anti-establishment, Eurosceptic, and anti-mass migration. “The 5-Stars have changed their minds too many times and on too many topics, so for me it’s a big ‘no’,” Salvini said.
In recent weeks, the Italian firebrand has been more open to the idea of a populist coalition, holding consultations with M5S leader Luigi Di Maio this week.
Talks have already run into a major hurdle as Di Maio has demanded that Forza Italia leader and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi not be allowed in the new government. La Lega has since replied to Di Maio, saying that Berlusconi is a part of the centre-right coalition and that Di Maio must speak with all the parties in the coalition and not just one.
“Salvini needs to choose between the revolution and the restoration, whether to abandon Berlusconi and start to change Italy or remain attached to Berlusconi and not change anything,” Di Maio said Tuesday.