Candidates backed by Matteo Salvini’s anti-mass migration League (Lega) party have surged ahead of the competition in Italy’s municipal elections, confirming public support for his tough stance on NGOs ferrying migrants across the Mediterranean.
Salvini, who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in the new eurosceptic, populist coalition government between nationalist Lega and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S), took to Facebook to herald the “historic wins for the League in towns that have been administered by the left for decades: THANKS!!!”
“The more the left insults us, the more the citizens reward us,” he added, possibly in reference to Lega wresting control of several key strongholds of the establishment Democratic Party (PD), which formed the previous government.
New Poll Shows Populist La Lega Most Popular Party In Italy For the First Time https://t.co/bkDT8Gm1lw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 20, 2018
Lega, a regional right-wing party campaigning as Lega Nord (Northern League) until recently, surged to the fore of Italian politics after campaigning country-wide on an anti-mass migration platform.
PD politician and former economic development minister Carlo Calenda, who has called for an alliance of establishment parties against the surging anti-establishment right, lamented that his party was heading for “irrelevance exactly when Italy needs it most”.
“We need to rethink everything: language, ideas, people, organisation. We need to widen our scope and involve everyone in a new manifesto,” he pleaded.
Hungary’s Orban Praises Italy’s Salvini: NGO Crews Are ‘White-Collar People-Smugglers’ https://t.co/9teFT0dLLl
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 19, 2018
One of Salvini’s first moves as interior minister was to refuse the Aquarius ‘rescue’ ship permission to disgorge over 600 migrants it had collected from a few miles off the shore of Libya.
He suggested they should be taken by Malta, which also refused them, before Spain’s new socialist government invited them to land in Valencia, some 1,000 miles away.
The mainstream media was highly critical of Italy’s decision, but many members of the public questioned why the ‘rescue’ ship did not allow the Libyan coast guard to collect the migrants and did not consider taking them to any of a number of safe ports in Tunisia and Algeria – far closer to the collection point than Italy and Spain.
Salvini has stuck to its guns on the issue despite the pressure from the European Union and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as the media — and polls show a massive 80 percent of the Italian public back his stance.