Anti-mass migration interior minister Matteo Salvini and his League party won the most votes in the southern Italian commune of Riace, despite it being known for its pro-migrant local politicians and policies.
According to polling results, the League has taken 30.75 per cent of the votes in Riace, Calabria, in the European Parliament elections held over the weekend, beating out the Five Star Movement by just over three per cent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.
Riace became well-known as early as 2011 for having some of the most welcoming policies for asylum seekers in Italy when former mayor Domenico Lucano was hailed by the BBC as “saving” the town by inviting in hundreds of asylum seekers to the town of around 1,800 people.
In recent years, Lucano has come into conflict with the Italian justice system, being arrested last year for allegedly helping to arrange “marriages of convenience” in order to keep illegal migrants in the country. In April, the former mayor found himself again in legal trouble, being indicted for his treatment of migrants and then facing a probe into potential fraudulent activities.
Salvini Leads Lega to Historic First National Election Victory https://t.co/h35QrrGWbg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 27, 2019
Several days prior to the EU elections, Matteo Salvini commented on Lucano and the charges against him saying: “When I go to Calabria, people ask me for more work, not more immigrants.”
Riace is not the only supposedly pro-migrant area to have given large numbers of votes to Salvini. In Lampedusa, one of the areas that have seen the most incoming asylum seekers, the League received nearly 46 per cent of the vote.
The European election is a historic win for Salvini and the League, being their first nationwide victory in the party’s history. On Monday morning Salvini commented: “The rules are changing in Europe.”
“A new Europe is born. I will say to those who have sunk the European dream, transforming it into a nightmare, that I am proud that the League participated in this new rebirth of a sunken Europe,” he added.