Home Malta Winds League leader Salvini promises referendums to counter new Italy government

League leader Salvini promises referendums to counter new Italy government

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Italy’s
far-right League will unleash a battery of referendums to try to sink reforms
planned by the new government, party leader Matteo Salvini said on Sunday,
denouncing his former coalition allies as traitors.

The League
governed with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement for 14 months before
Salvini pulled down the coalition last month in an attempt to trigger early
elections and cash in on his surging popularity.

However, in
a shock move, 5-Star hooked up with its former arch enemy, the pro-European
Democratic Party (PD), to create a new administration and leave Salvini
languishing in opposition.

“We will
challenge those traitors who are closed away in their offices,” Salvini told
thousands of flag-waving supporters in Pontida, a small town in the northern
region of Lombardy which is considered the spiritual home of the League.

“In the
coming months, there will be a government of the people,” he said, promising to
force referendums to undo planned legislation, including a likely change in the
electoral law that might make it harder for the League to take power in future.

“We have had
enough of stitch-ups and betrayals,” Salvini said, also promising a referendum
if the coalition sought to overturn a law he introduced last month that blocked
Italy’s ports to migrant rescue ships.

Referendum
have to be held in Italy if at least 500,000 voters petition for one.

“If they
touch our security decree, then we won’t raise 500,000 signatures, but rather
five million to defend the sacred borders of our nation,” said Salvini.

In a sign
the new government would adopt a softer stance on immigration, a French charity
ship was allowed to enter the port of Lampedusa on Saturday to disembark some
82 Africans it had saved off the coast of Libya.

“I think
immigration is going to be grim in the months ahead. It is going to get bad,”
said Salvini, whose anti-migrant drive has helped the League more than double
its support since national elections in 2018, making it Italy’s biggest party.

At last
year’s rally in Pontida, an ebullient Salvini predicted the League would rule
for the next 30 years. In the end it barely survived a year, but rather than
accept that he had made a political miscalculation, the League leader suggested
he had fallen foul of an EU plot.

“The Italian
people won’t be slaves to anyone,” he said.

The League
said some 250 coaches had brought more than 80,000 supporters to Pontida and
there was no word of criticism over Salvini’s decision to walk out of
government and let the PD back into power.

“Whatever
Salvini does is right,” said Alex Sirani, a League supporter from nearby
Brescia.

source: Reuters

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