Matteo Salvini rides wave of popularity in wake of Genoa disaster


The popularity of Italy’s hardline interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is growing as he taps into the emotions of a nation in despair and seizes on them as if he was still on the campaign trail.

Nowhere was this more evident than at the state funeral on Saturday for 19 of the 43 people killed in Genoa’s Morandi bridge collapse last Tuesday. Cheers and hugs greeted Salvini, also deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League, and his coalition partner, Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), as they arrived at the ceremony.

In contrast, deep disdain for Italy’s previous government was reflected in the insults hurled at members of the centre-left Democratic party. In what some describe as a watershed moment, many Italians are not only counting on a robust and swift response to the tragedy from their new leaders but are also depending on them to resolve chronic problems, from high unemployment to corruption, that have weighed the country down for decades.(theguardian)…[+]