Italy's League party wins elections in Abruzzo

The rightist League party has won a clear victory in elections in Italy's Abruzzo region. Interior Minister Matto Salvini played a leading role in his party's election campaign. Commentators see the right-wing populist politician in a dominant position and discuss the impact at the national and European level.

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Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Salvini no longer needs Cinque Stelle

Matteo Salvini is now the one pulling all the strings in Italy, columnist Gerardo Morina writes in Corriere del Ticino:

“Salvini is the alpha male of this situation who, much to the dismay of Cinque Stelle, is now in the dominant position and therefore calls the shots. ... These are the premises for a conflict aggravated by the current national recession and which is leading to a clear anomaly: the coexistence of two anti-system movements that owing to their fundamental differences are basically incompatible. ... Salvini can now afford to turn his back on his allies. How and when he does this is up to him.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Anti-migration discourse as key to success

Salvini's right-wing populism could be successful far beyond Italy's borders, NRC Handelsblad suspects:

“Salvini is establishing himself as the political star of all Italy with his harsh attacks against illegal migrants, his reputation for 'security and order' and his 'Italians first' message. ... Salvini's right-wing nationalist populism with its closed borders discourse has gained the upper hand against the anti-elite populism of the Five Star Movement. ... Salvini has sensed an opportunity - and not just in Italy. He wants to be the protagonist of a pan-European group of nationalists who in his words want to regain their 'sovereignty' from Brussels. Using the same formula he used in Abruzzo: Stop uncontrolled migration.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Di Maio scaring off the middle class

Columnist Marcello Sorgi explains in La Stampa why voters are turning their backs on Five Star leader Di Maio and switching their allegiance to Salvini:

“Last year the moderate and civil middle class voted for the Five Star Movement en masse in the hope that the fight against corruption, the promises of a new social system and the hatred of capitalist exploitation would usher in a new golden age. Instead, the man in the blue Sunday suit suddenly took off his tie and turned into a naughty boy. A self-appointed revolutionary. ... A friend of the terrorists who have set Paris on fire. An enemy of the public projects that have provided so much bread and work in the past. For a good part of the moderate voters this is reason enough to punish Di Maio and defect to Salvini.”