Salvini: coalition will survive full term
“There will be no new government put together around a table,” Salvini said. The far-right firebrand said he hoped relations would improve between his anti-migrant Lega party and its coalition partner, the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement.
Five Star has warned that the government will fall unless the Lega sacks a junior transport minister accused of corruption.
Armando Siri, who is close to Salvini, is under investigation for allegedly accepting a bribe from a wind-farm entrepreneur linked to the Sicilian mafia.
Siri denies any wrongdoing.
The two parties are competing for votes ahead of the European elections on May 26 and clash frequently on a wide range of issues. The Lega has made great electoral strides forward – largely because of Salvini’s anti-migrant populism – since taking office last June, while Five Star has haemorrhaged support.
Salvini was criticised for addressing his political supporters in Forli (pictured) from the same balcony where wartime dictator Benito Mussolini watched the execution of four partisans.
The small town 16km from Mussolini’s birthplace in Predappio in the Emilia Romagna, northern Italy, was used by Salvini while campaigning for the European elections.
He addressed around 2,000 supporters in Piazza Aurelio Saffi where Mussolini watched the execution of four partisans in 1944.
The crowd shouted “fascist” while others sang “Bella Ciao”, a folk song used during the wartime resistance.
“Here there are no fascists, but only Italians who are proud to be Italian,” Salvini purportedly told the crowd.
Vico Zanetti, president of regional ANPI partisan organisation, condemned the interior minister’s selection.
“You cannot joke about Piazza Saffi,” he said. “Here they hung the bodies of four partisans: Silvio, Corbari, Adriano Casadei, Arturo Spazzoli and Iris Versari, who was 20 years old.”
The town’s outgoing mayor, Davide Drei, of the centre-left Democratic Party, criticised Salvini for abusing Italy’s “painful” history.
“Using the town hall balcony to address a rally seems to mimic the regime’s pre-war rallies,” Drei posted on Facebook. “A terrible night, unfortunately, for our city … the worst way to run an election campaign.”
Drei said the square was a shrine to war victims.
Last year Salvini was criticised for using a phrase similar to one made popular by Mussolini when he tweeted, “So many enemies, so much honour”.
Mussolini’s well-known saying was “Many enemies, much honour”.
Forli. Picture credit: Wikimedia