Matteo Salvini is he finished?

Once a strong man in Italy and a key player in the boot policy, Matteo Salvini seems to be at the end of his rope. What happened to the leader of the League?

  • Until the summer of 2019, Matteo Salvini was there essential in Italian politics, overwhelming in the media and imposing the themes of his party, the League, on the government.
  • Since then, the politician seems to be losing momentum, a feeling reinforced by his trial, which ‘is open this Saturday before being postponed.
  • So ​​what happened so that Matteo Salvini lost so much credit? Is it over?

“The hardest part is not getting to the top, but staying there,” it seems. If Matteo Salvini ignored this saying, his political career is illustrating it for him. Formerly strongman of Italy, capable of making rain and shine in the government with his double hat of Vice-President of the Council and Minister of the Interior from June 2018 to September 2019, the troublemaker of (the extreme -) right and the leader of the League seems to be marking time. Finding all the more ferocious this Saturday, the day of his trial for “abuse of power and kidnapping of people”, when he had blocked, in the summer of 2019, 116 migrants aboard an Italian coast guard ship for several days.

Admittedly, the trial was postponed this morning, a meager breath of fresh air for a man who seems out of breath. Nevertheless, between this trial and the rout of the regional elections, the political form of Matteo Salvini is not in good shape.

Sin of pride and lack of concrete

Comment explain it? “Matteo Salvini made his mark with his extremely strong and violent statements, but it ran out of steam because of his lack of concrete results compared to his promises. The Italians ended up saying to themselves that it was very nice, his occupation of social networks or his thunderous speeches, but that in fact, there was not much happening, “said Ludmila Acone, doctor in history of the Italy.

For Marc Lazar, university professor in history and political sociology, specialist in Italy, the end of the ascent begins in the summer 2019 by a sin of pride. On the strength of his historic results in the Europeans and his record popularity rating, Matteo Salvini asks to dissolve the chambers of the Italian Parliament, in order to claim even more power. The bet failed, since he will instead lose his place in government. Marc Lazar elaborates: “This directly put him in a weakened position, since he no longer had so much power and above all a media presence, no longer belonging to the government. However, its primary strength came from its media coverage. He is on a permanent campaign for himself and his party. »

An anti-migrant discourse that no longer works

Then Matteo Salvini was dubbed in his beloved themes by better than him. Giorgia Meloni, president of the Brothers of Italy (a right-wing sovereignist party). Ludmila Acone, always: “She speaks the word of the hard right with more subtlety and political spirit. Even though her party was born out of a desire to recreate a fascist movement and her members at the base are very nostalgic for Mussolini, she is careful not to call him back every four morning. And in terms of influence, where Matteo Salvini has lost some, Giorgia Meloni has gleaned some, becoming president of the Party of European Conservatives and Reformists. “She applies a harsh but more concrete discourse, develops Ludmila Acone, and makes fewer comments on migrants. “

Because this is also one of Matteo Salvini’s current problems: the monolithic theme of his speeches, migrants, is much less promising in times of health and economic crisis for Italy. “It’s not that Italians have come to appreciate migrants,” Marc Lazar tempers. But that’s a long way from being their property now. Their fundamental concerns are health and concern for work, themes that Matteo Salvini is less concerned with. “

Hit but not sunk

And that might not even be why the coronavirus hurt her the most. Throughout the crisis, Matteo Salvini has been “totally irresponsible, demagogic, inconsistent, and he has lost a lot of his aura”, according to the history professor. Even after the peak of the epidemic, his direct criticism of the financial support validated by the European Union was frowned upon. Result, a party at half mast and internal criticism.

So is Matteo Salvini finished? Not so fast. Already, we will have to wait for the result of his trial, underlines Ludmila Acone: “If he wins and is acquitted, he will play his role of victim of the system, of political martyr who only defended his country and its borders and who was judged for it, ”she prophesies. Politically, if he is currently overtaken by Giorgia Meloni, it will be easy for him to find a convergence between the two parties to get his foot back in the stirrup.

For Marc Lazar, the strong man of the League still has strengths, a fortiori its party: “It remains the leading party in Italy by far, and the economic and social crisis to come is always beneficial to this type of movement. Matteo Salvini is therefore not finished, and it would be hasty to bury him. But he is clearly weakened, and is not yet able to bounce back. “