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Salvini likely to form Europe’s first anti-migrant nationalist government since 1945

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EUROSCEPTIC champion Matteo Salvini is on the point of forming an anti-Brussels coalition in Italy, according to a new opinion poll. The survey suggests the anti-migrant League party leader could lead a nationalist anti-left coalition to replace Mario Draghi’s globalist leaning regime after the next election.

It places Mr Salvini’s movement in the top spot, with 24 percent, closely followed by Brothers of Italy on 18 percent. Since the 2018 election, the nationalist Brothers of Italy, led by Giorgia Meloni, have risen to prominence to become the third-largest party in terms of support.

Ms Meloni is a rising star of the country’s eurosceptic and is president of the pan-EU European Conservative and Reformists Party. Her MEPs sit in the same party, which was once home to the British Conservative party, in the European Parliament.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would likely join the partnership, with his Forza Italia group at 6.5 percent. Support for pro-EU parties has slumped as a result of the bloc’s shambolic vaccine rollout, pro-migrant stance and cack-handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The centre-ground Democrats have dropped to 19 percent and the Five Star Movement is stuck at 17 percent, a capitulation from 32 percent in 2018.

Brothers of Italy are confident that Mr Salvini, Ms Meloni and Mr Berlusconi can form a ‘Coalition of Champions’ at the next election.

A party official told the EU Observer website: ‘In barely two months we gained nearly three percent, replacing the Five Star Movement as Italy’s third-largest party. We have the potential to go well beyond 25 percent. Our move to stay at the opposition and not become part of Draghi’s cabinet of national unity has proven to be winning.

‘What was meant to be the ‘coalition of the champions’ and the moment of ‘great rebirth’ for Italy has ended up being a downward compromise between diverse parties. They’ve all sold their souls, and they’re paying for this’, the official concluded.

‘Each day we constructively fight the government’s crazy proposals, such as absurd ways to boost digital payments, and denounce the delay in direct pandemic aid from the European Commission which was supposed to be a total of over €200 billion for Italy, but will hardly be €180 billion at the end of the day.’

Draghi was brought in to lead a technocratic government to help ramp up Italy’s rollout of life-saving Covid jabs. Voters have fled League and Five Star, who support the former European Central Bank president’s premiership, to Brothers of Italy.

Fratelli d’Italia, Brothers of Italy, right-wing party leader Giorgia Meloni, left, and The League party leader Matteo Salvini leave the Quirinale presidential palace where Italian President Sergio Mattarella is meeting political parties trying to find a viable solution to the political crisis, in Rome Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte resigned after a key coalition ally pulled his party’s support over Conte’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, setting the stage for consultations this week to determine if he can form a third government. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Ms Meloni has accused Draghi of dragging his heels over publishing plans to spend Italy’s chunk of the EU’s €750 billion recovery fund. She has now positioned Brothers of Italy as the country’s main opposition party.

A party insider said: ‘we are the only party not fearing an early vote, because our support grows by the day. If we voted tomorrow, we’d be well-placed unlike all other groups who are buying time through Draghi’s regime to boost their voting support in view of 2023.’

Italians aren’t due to vote in a general election until June 1, 2023.

But the Brothers of Italy believe Mr Draghi’s emergency Covid cabinet is a ‘ticking time-bomb’ waiting to explode. They believe the deep divisions League and Five Star have only been temporarily sedated to make it a functioning coalition.

And Ms Meloni’s party is waiting to cash in on the first rows over plans to ramp up vaccinations and spending of the Brussels recovery fund. Political analyst Andrea Ungari, a professor of political party history at Rome’s LUISS University, has predicted the right-wing coalition to secure a majority. League, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia would likely win 51 percent of the votes as part of a joint effort, according to the latest polling.

Mr Salvini and Ms Meloni would position themselves as the main protagonists within the government because Mr Berlusconi is lagging behind in the polls.

Professor Ungari said: ‘The Democrat party and the Five Star Movement have committed political suicide, with the Democrats on their last chance of survival as they desperately seek a way forward. Both groups have lost their sense of direction. That further strengthens the centre-right parties that maintain their identity and clear programmes.’

He added: ‘One day Silvio Berlusconi will be out of the picture, and that’s when the real battle for the mainstream-right hegemony will begin. Salvini looks to replace Berlusconi as Forward Italy’s guiding star and lure his electorate.’ Source

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