Populist Salvini Demands Tougher Borders as Italian Election Campaign Kicks Off

ROME, ITALY - JUNE 07: Italian right-wing leader Matteo Salvini makes a speech on current agenda at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, Italy on June 07, 2022. (Photo by Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Italian populist League (Lega) leader Matteo Salvini has called for tougher border control to reduce illegal migrant landings following the collapse of the technocratic “national unity” government earlier this week.

Following the fall of Mario Draghi’s globalist government, Italy is now set to see elections in September, and populist Matteo Salvini is already outlining his priorities for the election campaign.

Salvini spoke on Friday of the failures in the immigration policy of Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, a member of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD), and the need to secure Italy’s borders, Il Giornale reports.

“Returning to defend the Italian borders after the repeated failures of Lamorgese: the next Minister of the Interior will do it. What do you think Friends?” Salvini wrote on social media.

Italy has seen a surge of illegal immigrant landings this year, with Il Giornale reporting that at least 33,959 landings have been reported from the start of 2022 until July 21st, compared to 25,149 illegal immigrant arrivals during the same period last year.

Salvini, who served as Italy’s Interior Minister prior to Lamorgese, under a Five Star-Lega coalition government, was able to greatly reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming into Italy and reduced the number of people drowning while trying to cross the Mediterranean as a result.

In 2019, segments of the Italian media admitted that “the Salvini method works,” stating: “The proof is that after years of useless chatter the departures and arrivals have diminished, indeed almost ceased.”

“And with falling departures and arrivals, the deaths have also declined. Yes, the statistics say that despite alarms raised by NGOs, as the number of refugees who board a vessel is reduced, deaths have also been reduced. In spite of all the goodniks who said the opposite,” one newspaper observed.

Later that year, the United Nations Migration Agency/Internation Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that in the first five months of 2019, when Salvini was still serving as Interior Minister, the number of drownings fell to 515, from 664 during the same period in 2018 and 1,738 in 2017.

Under Interior Minister Lamorgese, however, landings have increased, particularly on the island of Lampedusa, which saw around 35,000 arrivals last year — a total five times that of the island’s population.

Recent polling shows that Salvini and his centre-right allies, the national conservative Brother of Italy (FdI) and the centre-right Forza Italia, are already polling at 46.6 per cent, while any potential centre-left coalition is far behind.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com.

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