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Ferdinando Giugliano

Italy’s Trump Is All Bark and No Bite

Salvini has secured new powers targeting migrants but failed to deliver on his populist economic agenda.

Voters backing Matteo Salvini have little to celebrate.

Voters backing Matteo Salvini have little to celebrate.

Photographer: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Matteo Salvini comes across as a Trump-like agitator, but when it comes to politics he likes to play the long game.

Italy’s home affairs minister and deputy prime minister scored a significant political victory on Monday when parliament passed a security law which will make it harder to rescue immigrants at sea. His League is polling just below 40%, a remarkable success for a party which only gained 17% in last year’s general election. And yet, Salvini refuses to trigger an election, which could propel him to become prime minister and cement the role of the League as the dominant force in Italian politics.