Salvini Tops Polls in Italy Ahead of EU Election as Orban Alliance Takes Shape

Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (L) is welcomed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) in the Carmelite monastery of the prime minister's office in Budapest on May 2, 2019 during their press conference - Salvini is on a one-day official visit to Hungary. (Photo by ATTILA …

The League party of populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini continues to dominate polling projections for this month’s European Parliament elections as a new alliance with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán begins to take shape.

According to a new poll released by Index Research, Salvini’s League is still firmly the most popular party in Italy going into this month’s election with 32.8 per cent, with the second largest party, the League’s populist coalition partner the Five Star Movement (M5S), polling more than ten points behind at 22 per cent, Il Giornale reports.

The Democratic Party, which formed the previous national government, are just behind the M5S at 20.5 per cent while former conservative Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Forward Italy) sits at 9.3 per cent. While Salvini’s League is the largest party in the poll, around 36 per cent of Italians said they were either undecided or would not be voting at all.

Earlier this week, Salvini visited the Hungarian capital of Budapest to meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, of the governing conservative Fidesz party, where the two discussed the possible form of their new alliance in the European Parliament.

“We are clearly looking for cooperation with Mr Salvini, in a form to be defined,” Prime Minister Orbán said during a press conference Thursday, according to AFP, and added, “I am convinced that Europe needs an alliance of anti-immigration parties.”

Ahead of the visit of the Italian minister, Orbán described Salvini as “the most important person in Europe today.”

The Hungarian leader also said he would welcome cooperation of the European People’s Party (EPP), the group in the European Parliament to which Fidesz is a member but is currently suspended, with the anti-mass migration coalition as well. “It would be better for Europe if it was not Macron, but Orbán and Salvini who are at the helm” on border control, he said.

Salvini, meanwhile, has made it clear he wants to unite the sovereigntist movement across Europe saying that it could become the largest group in the European Parliament. “For the first time in the history of the EU, a new majority can be formed leaving aside the EPP and the Socialists,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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