Italian pollster Alessandra Ghisleri has suggested that the government putting populist Senator Matteo Salvini on trial over a migrant incident last year could actually boost his public support and election results.
On Monday, the Italian parliament voted to go ahead with a trial over Salvini’s actions in the Gregoretti case, in which, as former interior minister, Salvini refused to allow migrants aboard an Italian coast guard vessel to disembark in Italy.
Alessandra Ghisleri, surveyor and director of Euromedia Research, said that the trial could be a boon for Salvini, stating that he could rally supporters around him saying: “The constant attack on a leader turns him into a victim.”
On Monday, Salvini said at a rally in Comacchio that he was ready to go to prison if need be, saying: “(Giovannino) Guareschi said that there are times when you have to pass through prison to reach freedom.”
“We are ready. I am ready,” he added.
Salvini: Being Called a Populist 'Is a Compliment' https://t.co/8gRKATqriC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2019
Ghisleri commented on Salvini’s approach saying: “Probably Salvini estimated that, in his opinion, it would have happened anyway, so he had nothing to lose and only to gain by turning it into an election campaign theme.”
On the subject of the regional elections in Emilia-Romagna, a noted left-wing stronghold, later this month, Ghisleri said the centre-left candidate who is supported by the leftist national ruling coalition “embodies 50 years of regional governments always of the same colour. This can become a handicap compared to those who want to undermine a system of power from which they feel excluded.”
Polls for the regional election suggest a very tight race between centre-left candidate Stefano Bonaccini and centre-right candidate Lucia Borgonzoni, supported by Matteo Salvini.
An SWG poll released earlier in the month put Bonaccini at 47 per cent and Borgonzoni at 45 per cent, with Five Star Movement candidate Simone Benini polling at just five per cent.
Some have predicted that the loss of Emilia-Romagna could end up bringing down the leftist coalition government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and pave the way toward fresh national elections.