Far-right Salvini attacks the government he supports

The growing tensions come amid a rise in the polls for both Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega party as well as Giorgia Meloni’s opposition Brothers of Italy party. [ANSA/ EPA-EFE/RICCARDO ANTIMIANI]

The stabbing of five people – including a six-year-old – in the Italian coastal city of Rimini by a Somalian asylum seeker, has become the latest point of contention within the ruling coalition that supports the government of Mario Draghi. The growing tensions come amid a rise in the polls for both Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega party as well as Giorgia Meloni’s opposition Brothers of Italy party.

Speaking at a rally ahead of the upcoming administrative elections this autumn, Salvini attacked the current Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese. Referring to the incident in Rimini, Salvini said “Lamorgese should tackle the[migration] issue or have somebody else take her place”.

A few hours earlier, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, Lamorgese had lamented the frequent attacks she had been receiving for weeks from Lega. “When the attacks are coming from people who support the government, and they become personal and constant, they end up damaging the government’s image”, she said.

Similarly, the undersecretary of the Interior, Nicola Molteni, also a Lega member, commented that the Rimini incident shows how out-of-control immigration generates crime, emphasising that 41,000 irregular migrants have landed on the Italian shores in 2021.

It is not the first time Lamorgese becomes a point of contention between Salvini and Draghi.

In August, Draghi spoke in favour of Lamorgese, who replaced Salvini at the Ministry of the Interior in September 2019. At the time, Draghi said Lamorgese was doing her best in handling the influx of migrants, after the country experienced an upsurge of irregular arrivals over the summer. It is highly unlikely that the PM’s support will falter after the Rimini case.

Responding to the accusations, Lamorgese pointed out the complexity of managing immigration flows, saying that it involves “an understanding of human rights law, Italian foreign policy guidelines, relations with EU partners, and the strategic choices that the EU and Italy are able to make concrete in particular in North Africa, in the Sahel, Afghanistan and the Balkans”.

The Rimini attack, she added, “could have happened anywhere in Europe”.

(Viola Stefanello | EURACTIV.it)

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