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Marine Le Pen (Twitter); Matteo Salvini

Marine Le Pen: Italian election could be fatal to EU

French conservative leader Marine Le Pen has said Italy’s March 4 general elections, in which eurosceptic parties are expected to do well, could fatally undermine the European Union.

Published: February 8, 2018, 8:20 am

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    Le Pen “They could certainly mark the beginning of a new Europe, offering further proof that people are opposed to the European Union as it is now,’’ she told Corriere della Sera newspaper last month.

    Corriere said the leader of France’s National Front would like the EU to evolve into a looser UEN, or “Union for European Nations.” In Italy, Le Pen is an ally of the anti-migrant League party.

    “We do not have formal links with them but they are all part of the same dynamic. “This aims to call into question the current European Union, defended by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel,’’ she said.

    Italy’s election will take place within a context of rising inequality, social divisions, and economic difficulties, all powerful drivers in politics. As a recent simulation by Ipsos reveals, no stand-alone party would currently be able to secure 316 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the absolute majority required to form a government.

    The projection indicates that the Five Star Movement would receive 28.7 percent of the vote and 169 seats, the centre-left coalition of the Democratic Party (PD) would be in line to get 23.1 percent and 152 seats, while the overall centre-right coalition, including Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Northern League [Lega], would receive 35.9 percent of the vote votes and 269 seats.

    Salvini, 44, took over the League party in 2013 from its founder, Umberto Bossi, who had been weakened by a stroke and corruption scandals, and has taken it to new heights. His powerful message continues to resonate in a country on the frontlines of a migration flood that has reshaped European politics.

    Meanwhile League leader Salvini on Wednesday called for Italy to bring back obligatory military service. “Yes, I think a conscription army is best for democracy in the face of a rise in racism and the threat of terrorism,” Salvini said at an event organised by veteran associations in Milan.

    “We have proposed a law reintroducing military service on a regional basis for six months. It would do many young men and women good”.

    In the aftermath of the shooting aimed at migrants in Macerata this week, Salvini also argued that “unchecked immigration brings chaos, anger” and “drug dealing, thefts, rapes and violence”. He laid the blame for the attack on what he described as the central government’s lax approach to immigration. “The fault is on those that filled [Italy] with illegal immigrants,” he said in the wake of the incident.

    While traveling in the Puy-de-Dôme to meet voters, Le Pen too questioned the way in which justice authorities were treating foreigners. “There is a feeling that thugs have become overpowerful as a result of the laxity of justice. Foreign offenders are never expelled at the end of their sentence. Remissions have become systematic!” she said.

    Le Pen attacked president Emannuel Macron’s policy of increasing inequalities between the rich and the poor. “Our country is, I tell you, in free fall and third world one. A society in which multiple insecurities has taken root,” she said.

    “Macron promised to allow family reunification for ‘minor’ migrants, who, by the way, declare themselves all ‘minors’, even if they walk with an old man’s cane!” she noted.

    “Look what happened in Calais: Macron came to proclaim his will to restore authority. Fifteen days later, we saw scenes of civil war and clashes between armed migrants. We are far from the nice migrants reading Victor Hugo!” Le Pen added.

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