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Matteo Salvini. Photo: matteoslavini.it Matteo Salvini

Salvini’s League surges to big win as right coalition looks set to govern Italy

The biggest winner of this weekend's general election outcome in Italy, is the League led by Matteo Salvini.

Published: March 6, 2018, 7:59 am

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    In Sunday’s general election, the Five Star M5s came out as Italy’s top party with 32 percent of the vote with over half ballots counted, some 2 percent more than it had been polling before the election.

    But the real winner was the La Lega, winning 18 percent compared to pre-election polls of 14-15 percent. It overtook its coalition ally, Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI) which got about 14 percent.

    League leader Salvini hailed the League’s win. “It’s an extraordinary victory,” said Salvini, which “fills us with pride, joy and responsibility”. He said “I see it as a vote for the future, the Italians have rewarded the future”.

    Salvini added: “The team with whom you must talk and govern is the centre right. I’m someone who keeps his word and the commitment regards the centre right coalition, which has won and can govern”.

    Salvini’s party was only a percentage point behind the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) whose leader, ex-premier Matteo Renzi, has said he would quit.

    In terms of coalitions, the centre right, also featuring Brothers of Italy (FdI) came out on top with 37 percent, while the PD-led centre-left coalition could only manage 24 percent with the PD itself slumping to under 19 percent from pre-electoral polls of 24 percent.

    While the centre right ended ahead, it fell short of winning a ruling majority. Salvini is now the coalition’s premier candidate with the League having outscored FI.

    Salvini added: “I will remain a man of the people, those who listen to the people are doing their duty. Italians are fed up with radical chic”.

    The vote “punished the arrogance of Renzi and his people”, Salvini said.

    After his strong finish Salvini rejected the idea of forming a coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which got 32 percent, saying “No to strange coalitions. No, no, no…”.

    He continued: “It will be President [Sergio Mattarella] who will choose the premier who has the numbers closes to reality”.

    His deal with Berlusconi, he recalled, meant that “the party that got one vote more than the other would have the honour and burden of meeting the challenge of bringing the country out of the quicksand”.

    “I have not heard from Berlusconi, I’ll do it later, but deals between friends are clear,” Salvini said.

    “That’s what we’re going to do,” he said referring to his installation as centre-right premier candidate.

    Salvini said he could rule out broad “special-purpose, time-limited or institutional” governments. “We’re not taking part in minestrone governments,” he said.

    Salvini said he hoped European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would remain at the EC helm for as short a time as possible. “I thank Juncker for the words he said during the election campaign (against populism), because the more he speaks the more votes we get. Let’s hope he stays president of the European Commission for the shortest time possible”.

    Financial markets have nothing to fear from the victory of the League leader said. “The markets have nothing to fear, on the contrary,” said Salvini. “Lower taxes and faster justice should stimulate investment,” he said, adding that “Italians decide for Italy, not Berlin or the (bond) spread”.

    M5S premier candidate Luigi Di Maio on Monday hailed the M5S’s success in the general election as “historic” but stressed that no coalition had the numbers to govern.

    Thanks to “11 million Italians” is party is ready “talk to all parties” on its government agenda, Di Maio said. “We are ready to talk to all political forces,” he added.

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