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Italy’s Chief Disrupter Is Masterminding His Comeback

Rivals are desperate to keep Matteo Salvini out of power. Italians expect him to be their prime minister one day. 

League Leader Matteo Salvini Campaigns Ahead Of Regional Vote
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

He’s the 46-year-old Italian college dropout who cracks crude jokes, gorges himself on pasta and Parma ham and posts pictures of himself shopping for underwear.

Cultivating an image of just another average guy has served Matteo Salvini well, turning the leader of what used to be a fringe nationalist party into Italy’s most prominent politician, the chief opponent of immigrants and Brussels interference. Mobbed wherever he goes, few dispute he will one day become the country’s prime minister.