Eurosceptics Lega to hold rallies in Milan

Eurosceptics Lega to hold rallies in Milan

Supporters of Lega (the League) will gather in Milan today for a rally headlined by leader Matteo Salvini ahead of

Lega_nord_protesters

Photo: AP/Riccardo De Luca

Supporters of Lega (the League) will gather in Milan today for a rally headlined by leader Matteo Salvini ahead of Italy’s March 4 general election.

Originally formed to support Northern Italian separatism, Salvini has transformed Lega into a nationwide right-wing party as he bids for the premiership. This year, he struck “Nord” (North) from the party’s name, hoping his “Italians first” platform of euroscepticism and deporting 500,000 undocumented migrants will win his party new voters in the south.

However, Salvini’s personal ambitions may yet be curbed: polling consistently shows his party placing behind Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia within the “centre-right” electoral coalition. In that event, Berlusconi would prefer a prime minister from his own party, perhaps European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. Even if Lega placed ahead, Salvini’s extremism could prove too toxic for Forza Italia’s more moderate members to make him prime minister.

Expect Lega to increase its vote share. How big those gains are beyond its traditional northern base will indicate how much other politicians must attune themselves to Mr Salvini’s anti-migrant message.

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