Italy far-right claims coalition has ‘right’ to govern

Milan: Italian far-right-leader Matteo Salvini said Monday that his coalition had the “right and the duty” to govern the country after taking 37 percent of the vote in the weekend election. “This is an extraordinary victory,” the leader of the anti-immigrant League party told a press conference in Milan.

“We have the right and the duty to govern over the coming years.” The eurosceptic leader said that he would hold talks “in the coming hours” with the rest of his coalition, in particular Forza Italia party leader and former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Salvini said he was “committed to the deal” within the right-wing coalition that whichever party came away with the most votes would nominate the future prime minister.

“I’m not saying it has to be me, but our team is ready,” he said, adding that “deals between friends are kept.” Salvini’s League party largely outperformed Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy) party, taking 18 percent of the vote compared to 14 percent for the media tycoon. The coalition is short of a majority however and would need to make alliances to govern.

In the election run-up, there had been talk of a potential anti-establishment alliance between the League and the populist Five Star Movement, the leading single party in the vote with 32 percent. But when asked by journalists, Salvini ruled out the possibility. “The team is the centre-right coalition,” he said, adding that he would not form “minestrone soup” government, made up of different ingredients.

Salvini said that for eurosceptics, the results were “a step towards liberation”. Europe should fear “delinquents and parasites” rather than populist movements, he added. He also personally thanked his ally, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, for her “support and esteem.”