Addressing Crowd of 80,000 Supporters, Populist Salvini Calls for Immigration Referendum

Italian senator, head of the Italian far-right League (Lega) party Matteo Salvini delivers a speech on stage during the party's annual rally in Pontida on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Populist League leader Senator Matteo Salvini promised to trigger referendums to block the new leftist coalition from opening Italy’s borders to mass migration.

Salvini unveiled his plan to a crowd of around 80,000 people in Pontida on Sunday, according to figures from the League, and said that his former coalition partners the Five Star Movement (M5S) had committed treason, RTS reports.

“We will challenge these traitors who are entrenched in their offices,” the senator told the massive crowd gathered in the northern Italian town which boasts a population of just over 3,000.

“In a few months, there will be a government of the people,” Salvini added and said that he, along with the League, were ready to trigger a referendum on reform of Italy’s electoral laws.

He also said he would look at further referendums if the government coalition of the M5S and the leftist-establishment Democratic Party (PD) re-opens the border to migrant transport NGOs and scraps his migration and security decrees.

Italian law states that a referendum must be held if the person or group promoting it can gather at least 500,000 signatures from the Italian public.

Salvini went on to state that the European Union had put forward a plot after his non-confidence vote in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte collapsed the previous coalition.

European Union establishment figures were quick to congratulate Prime Minister Conte and the formation of the new coalition earlier this month.

“Thanks to his leadership and with the support of his government I am convinced that Italy will be able to play a leading role in facing these essential European challenges and live up to its responsibilities as a founding state of the Union,” outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The Italian public, however, remains unconvinced of the new government according to polls that show only around one in three Italians support the coalition with more Italians preferring the former League-M5S government.

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


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