Matteo Salvini is no longer the boss of the Italian right

It is an outcome that had long been predicted by Italian polling institutes. Now it has materialized at the polls.

Monday June 13, the day after the first round of municipal elections, Giorgia Meloni can congratulate herself. Her (unacknowledged) objective has been fulfilled: the party she chairs, Fratelli d’Italia, has doubled the League of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in number of votes. This sovereigntist right-wing formation, the only major political force opposed to the national unity government of Mario Draghi, is now the leading party in the ranks of the conservatives. A small revolution for Italian politics – long dominated by Salvini – that the transalpine press has amply commented on.

“Salvini found himself in a nightmare”

La Republica, for examplean emblematic center-left daily, speaks of a “Matteo Salvini who found himself in a nightmare”. “He lost his leadership of the right-wing coalition”, notes the Roman newspaper, which takes malicious pleasure in listing the figures of this rout:

“In 22 of the 26 largest municipalities that voted, the League is behind Fratelli d’Italia. Salvini’s party was preceded in Genoa and Verona, as in Tuscany, and suffered a real debacle in the South. No one in the party imagined a feat in this vote, but no one expected a fall of this magnitude. With a few rare exceptions, the League is constantly below 10% in municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants.

A particularly painful underperformance in the north of the country, historically won over to the League, which also seems to prefer Meloni to Salvini now.

The right has been turned upside down, but the right remains victorious, claims for its part the Milanese weekly Panorama, who prefers to underline the electoral successes of the conservative coalition rather than the internal rivalries which agitate it: “In Genoa, in Palermo, in L’Aquila, the center right wins in the first round, and it is ahead in other smaller cities, writes the conservative media, and this demonstrates that the electorate is only asking for one thing: an end to internal conflicts. Together Salvini and Meloni can defeat the centre-left.”

Indeed, if the Democratic Party claims the status of the first party in Italy, its alliance with the 5 Star Movement (M5S, antisystem), which continues to lose votes, does not allow it to win many municipalities. .

Will it be the same during the legislative elections which will decide the next government?

This is the big question that agitates the progressive camp, which does not have the favor of the forecasts against the right-wing coalition for the election to be held in March 2023. Provided that Draghi’s government does not fall before, dropped by Salvini, who clearly did not benefit from his participation in it.

Following the first round of municipal elections, Giorgia Meloni did not fail to invite Salvini to join her in the opposition. An option which seemed almost impossible until yesterday, but which today perhaps runs a little more in the head of Matteo Salvini.

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