The man of the hour | TIME ONLINE


It was not a victory – it was a triumph. More than 34 percent won the Lega from the Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in the European elections. It was able to double their share of the votes compared to the national parliamentary elections of March 2018 and secured the undisputed position first. The polling stations in Italy are closed at 11 p.m. and even before midnight
Salvini thanked in his own way
Facebook selfie that shows that it is radiant as a handwritten text
Leaf stands firm: "1st party in Italy. GRAZIE!"

The atmosphere in the Lega was so brilliant, the mood of the coalition partner in Rome, the five-star movement (M5S), was so miserable. Her boss Luigi Di Maio, like Salvini Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Labor, had to face a defeat that would shake the movement. In March 2018, M5S had collected almost 33 percent, but on Sunday they plummeted to nearly 17 percent. This does not necessarily have to change the balance of power in the government from 33 to 17 to 17 to 34. For the first time since the breakthrough in the 2013 parliamentary elections, the five stars are still the third strongest force in the country.

For the reasonably left party, Partito Democratico (PD), who belongs to the European party family of socialists, is back. In the national election of a year ago, an accident of 18.7 percent, she now hopes for a revival of nearly 23 percent under her new president Nicola Zingaretti – even though she is still far removed from her success at the European elections In 2014, when it yielded 41 percent.

EU elections – "A sign that Europe is changing"
Lega boss Matteo Salivini celebrates the election results: the right-wing populists of Italy are, according to forecasts, the country's strongest force. Just like the right-wing populist parties in England and France.
© Photo: Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty Images, Di Maitland / unsplash

"Italians first!" – "Basta Euro!"

But the man of the day is certainly Salvini. He led the Lega since the end of 2013, he took over a regional party, which was still Lega North, who despised the nation state and wanted to forcefully enforce the interests of the rich regions of Northern Italy against it. "stealing Rome" and the "parasitic" south – but shocked by the scandals of its founder Umberto Bossi, who had fallen to four percent in the 2013 national elections.

Salvini at that time gave the party a radical change away from the claim to defend the interests of the north against the nation state and against aggressive nationalist, anti-EU and xenophobic right-wing populism. His model was Marine Le Pen, and he, who had tinted with the national flag a few years earlier, he could "do nothing", now named "Italians first!" Radical defense of migrants and "Basta Euro!" became the most important demands of the party.

The nationalistic swing – and with it the extension of the Lega to the south, where it was previously absolutely absent – has paid off. Already in the European elections in 2014 there was a slight increase to 6 percent, in the national elections in 2018 it was then seen as sensational 17 percent – 17 percent, making the Lega for Silvio Berlusconis Forza Italia the strongest party of the law.

Become popular with harshness against migrants

17 percent also allowed him to form a coalition government with the other anti-establishment party M5S. Both parties together represented more than 51 percent of voters; this already shows how miserable the state of mind is Italy after years of economic crisis. Salvini obtained the Ministry of the Interior – and uses this function for a year to defend himself as the protector of the Italians.

He did this mainly with his policy of "closed ports", the grim defense of migrants. But otherwise he gives the sheriff, demands the "chemical castration of rapists", imposed a new law of self-defense, which almost completely releases the use of firearms against burglars. He touched the nerves of troubled citizens with their fear, even though they live in one of the safest countries in the world – Italy has just over 300 murders a year, and therefore only half of Germany, and the crime rate has been steadily for five years continue to exist. This way was il capitano, the captain, like his fans
call the strong man of the government to be the most popular politician of the
Landes, and pushed coalition partner M5S on the wall.