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Tags: italy | salvini | meloni | trump | immigration | ukraine

Salvini to Newsmax: Under Rightists, a Hard-Line Approach in Italy

matteo salvini

Matteo Salvini (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By Sunday, 18 September 2022 09:30 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

With all signs pointing to a big win for a coalition of three right-of-center parties in Italy's general elections Sept. 25, one of the big three party chieftains told Newsmax to count on a hard-line approach to law and order and illegal immigration.

In addition, Matteo Salvini, leader of the League Party, said that a new conservative government in Rome would lower tax rates for more citizens and, while remaining a member of the European Union, would fight what he called "a socialist Europe that uses bureaucratization and excessive regulation as the main driving force of its current identity."

A former Interior minister and deputy prime minister, Salvini, 49, is almost sure to have a high position in the next government. According to a recent Quorum/You Trend poll, the Brothers of Italy Party, headed by Giorgia Meloni, is likely to top the race for 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 200 in the Senate with 25.3% of the vote. The Brothers are followed in the poll by the center-left Democratic Party with 21.2% and the 5-Star Movement of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte with 13.8 percent.

Coupled with the votes for Salvini's League (12.9%) and the Forza Italia Party (7.9%) headed by legendary four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a right-of-center coalition is likely to take a majority of seats — or a near majority — in Parliament. This would mean that "La Ducetta [The Duchess]," as Meloni is known, would have the first crack at forming the new government and becoming, at 45, Italy's first female prime minister.

"It takes a couple of months in order to form a new government, which brings us to the end of the year," Mario Gualco, president of Italy's National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises, told Newsmax. "But all this while the economy needs answers and reactions in a very short period of time. The scenario is not the best: Will a very hot autumn await us?"

Part of that "hot autumn" of which Gualco speaks involves illegal immigration — almost surely to be a priority for a government including Meloni and Salvini.

Among the first steps for such a government, Salvini told Newsmax, "will be the restoration of the security decrees I oversaw as interior minister, which were subsequently abolished by the left. With these laws, we had less illegal migrants, more police forces and less crime.

"We were defending the orders and the security of everyone; whereas, it is unfortunately not the case anymore. The 5 million legal migrants that are present in Italy are more than welcome, but there will be no more space in Italy for drug dealers, thieves, and irregular migrants."

Tax reform will also be given a high priority on the agenda of the next government. According to Salvini, "It is a necessity to lower the taxes, hence the importance we give to the flat tax.

"At present, there are 2 million autonomous workers that live and earn, thanks to the flat tax. But we also need to erase millions of tax bills for too many families and workers that were not able to pay for them during the two COVID years."

Specifically, the League boss wants to extend the limit on the 15% flat tax from 2 million workers who earn up to 65,000 euros per year to 100,000 per year.

"We want to extend it [the 15% flat tax] to retired and employed workers, starting with low incomes," he told us, "and with a limit up to 70,000 euros in cases of families with two revenues or two pensions per family. For Italians, the family will always be the heart that makes our country live."

Any interview with a European politician these days usually gets around to Russia and Ukraine quite swiftly. Meloni, Berlusconi and Salvini all have histories of warm words for Vladimir Putin.

"Everybody in the past — and I mean everybody — has collaborated with Putin and Russia," said Salvini, "but the war has changed this. The war changed everything. [The League] has supported every measure [of lame-duck Prime Minister Mario Draghi's] ... for invaded Ukraine, both in the Italian and European Parliaments, including sanctions on Russia. We will continue to defend Ukraine and work for peace."

He quickly added, however, that "sanctions and the war are entailing dramatic consequences on Italian families and companies. The data of the International Monetary Fund are hypothesizing an enormous commercial surplus before the end of the year, which may even exceed $200 billion. For this reason, [the League] calls for a protective intervention by the EU for Italian companies and workers, as it happened when the COVID crisis hit."

"I hope that diplomacy [in the war] prevails as soon as possible," he said. "Many Italian politicians have rediscovered themselves as fervent supporters of Washington only because Donald Trump is not the president anymore. Our relationship with Washington has always been solid."

Like Meloni, Salvini has long been considered a "Euroskeptic" and critic of the EU. Both have toned that down in the campaign and, in Salvini's words, "We are not against Europe but against a socialist Europe that uses bureaucratization and excessive regulation as the main driving force of its current identity.

"We are thinking of out-of-control border defense, weak opposition to Islamic extremism that now rules in too many Europe cities.

"We want a Europe that defends, protects, supports jobs and families, and gives up ideological policies such as the Green New Deal and Nutriscore [the five-color rating for the nutritional value of food products in many European countries].

"COVID has proven us right by showing that too many constraints and excessive bureaucracy do not help member states."

Salvini made no secret that a conservative government in Rome would pursue reforms in governance — including the idea of amending the Constitution to provide for a strong president such as that in France and giving greater autonomy to the regions of territories.

"Reforming the presidential system is one of the reforms we will work in," he said. "But the granting of more autonomy to the regions is thought more urgent and necessary, and it can be approved without changing the Constitution. As in the American model, the presidential system has to be implemented with a federal system that gives a balance to the strong central powers. The mechanism of checks and balances is fundamental for a democracy."

Outside liberal press outlets such as the Financial Times have suggested that Salvini and his allies are thinly disguised fascists in the mold of Benito Mussolini. A widely distributed profile by French television shows Meloni as a teenage political activist for the Italian Social Movement (the predecessor party to the Brothers) hailing Mussolini because "everything he did, he did for Italy."

Meloni has long since said Italians should "offer up fascism to history," and Salvini told us that "fascism and communism will luckily not come back.

"The faults of Mussolini were so serious and evident to end any discussion of this. [The League] is working to build a better future in the name of freedom. We study the past in the history books."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
With all signs pointing to a big win for a coalition of three right-of-center parties in Italy's general elections Sept. 25, one of the "Big Three" of party chieftains told Newsmax to count on a hard-line approach to law and order and illegal immigration.
italy, salvini, meloni, trump, immigration, ukraine
1205
2022-30-18
Sunday, 18 September 2022 09:30 PM
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