Italy's deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Infrastructure and leader of Italian far-right League party (Lega) Matteo Salvini, has modest hopes for the elections. EPA-EFE/ETTORE FERRARI

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Italy’s Salvini aims for 9 per cent in European Parliament elections


Italy’s League Party (LSP) leader Matteo Salvini said he would be happy with 9 per cent of the vote in June’s European Parliament elections.

Despite currently being the largest Italian delegation in the EP, wining 34.3 per cent of the vote in 2019 and 29 seats, Salvini has more moderate ambitions for June.

The goal is to “grow compared to the general elections of a year and a half ago”, he said on Italian TV channel Rete 4.

Salvini’s LSP has taken a beating since Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party became the leading force on the Right. In 2018, the LSP won more than 17 per cent of the vote but since 2022 that has slipped, with it now polling at around 8.5 per cent in Italy.

Scoring 9 per cent or more “would mean that those who are in front of the television are appreciating what I am and [we] are doing”, Salvini said.

He also took aim at the European Green Deal.

“Requiring everyone from 2035 to buy only electric cars or vans with batteries produced in China that pollute more, cost more and emit more, means killing a productive sector, it means closing factories, condemning artisans, contractors and workers to lose their jobs.

“With today’s numbers favouring the Lega’s [LSP] allied movements across Europe – Le Pen in France, the Austrians, the Dutch, the Flemish, the Portuguese – the united centre-right across Europe could have the numbers to govern this Europe on its own and finally defend it, this Europe, without the Socialists,” he said.

“Of course, it is necessary that no one from the centre-right in Italy or elsewhere says ‘but I don’t want Salvini, I don’t want Le Pen, I don’t want the Austrians’. If someone says they prefer Macron to Le Pen, they are not harming Salvini, they are harming Italy and Italians.”

Salvini did take aim at the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. “If someone says that the Nazi SS were also good people, they cannot have anything to do with me or anyone else,” he insisted, referring to recent scandals.

Of the LSP’s candidates, Salvini said they would “defend Italy excellently on the issues of peace and the fight against illegal immigration in Brussels”.

One of those candidates is General Roberto Vannacci, a former Italian paratrooper who wrote a book called Il Mundo al Contrario in which he criticised what he called multiculturalism and progressivism in Italy.

It became a best-seller in the country but it was hated by the Left and the media, who described it as “homophobic” and “racist”. The book ignited a firestorm in Italian politics – and the LSP gave Vannacci its support.