Nightmare for Brussels as poll shows anti-EU politicians are most popular in Italy

Matteo Salvini hits out at Italy's 'capitulation' to Rutte in EU deal

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According to the latest opinion polling, the far-right Brothers of Italy and League parties are now ahead of their political rivals. The study, carried out by SWG, puts Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (21 percent) and Matteo Salvini’s League (20 percent) as the two most popular parties in the country. This would put the two eurosceptic movements in poll position to lead an anti-Brussels coalition after the next national election, which is due to be held no later than June 1, 2023.

Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party and anti-establishment Five Star Movement both find themselves lagging behind, on 19 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The study was carried out between August 25-30 and spoke to 1,200 people in Italy.

It marks a huge jump in support for Brothers of Italy, who only secured 4.4 percent of the vote at the last national election.

League demonstrated the increased support for anti-Brussels conservative politicians by also making a small leap from 17.4 percent to 19.8 percent, according to the poll.

Italy is currently governed by a technocratic government headed up by former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.

He swept to power on a pledge to ramp up Italy’s faltering coronavirus vaccination campaign and kickstart its pandemic-stricken economy.

Mr Draghi secured the support of Five Star, League, Democratic Party Forza Italia, Italia Viva and Free and Equal.

Brothers of Italy were one of the country’s only major political parties that refused to back the multi-party coalition.

The success of the hard-right party has sparked fears of a fascist revival in Italy.

But its leader, Ms Meloni, has sought to soften her party’s image by pitching it as a conservative champion of patriotism that “does not belong to the cult of fascism”.

She is a rising star of the country’s eurosceptic scene and is president of the pan-EU European Conservative and Reformists Party.

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Her MEPs sit in the same party, which was once home to the British Conservative party, in the European Parliament.

Earlier this year it emerged Brothers of Italy were confident that Mr Salvini, Ms Meloni and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi can form a “coalition of champions” at the next election.

A party official told the EU Observer website: “In barely two months we gained nearly three percent, replacing the Five Star Movement as Italy’s third-largest party. We have the potential to go well beyond 25 percent. Our move to stay at the opposition and not become part of Draghi’s cabinet of national unity has proven to be winning.

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“What was meant to be the ‘coalition of the champions’ and the moment of ‘great rebirth’ for Italy has ended up being a downward compromise between diverse parties. They’ve all sold their souls, and they’re paying for this”, the official concluded.

“Each day we constructively fight the government’s crazy proposals, such as absurd ways to boost digital payments, and denounce the delay in direct pandemic aid from the European Commission which was supposed to be a total of over €200 billion for Italy, but will hardly be €180 billion at the end of the day.”

Brothers of Italy, League and Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italy would win 48 percent of the vote, according to the latest polling.

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