EU elections: Salvini's League triumphs in Italy

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's right-wing League party was the big winner in Italy in the European elections with around 34% of the vote, ANSA reported. Support for fellow Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio's 5-Star Movement (M5S) dropped to about 17%, around half the level it registered in last year's general election.

The opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which slumped to its worst-ever showing in the 2018 general election, came second with over 22% of the vote. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia was under the 10% mark with around 8.7% of the vote. The rightwing Brothers of Italy (FDI) party got over 6% and was the only other group to cross the 5% threshold to win representation in the new European Parliament.

"It is a vote that allows us to try to change Europe," Salvini told the La7 TV channel, vowing to work with fellow populists from France, Hungary and elsewhere to meet a campaign pledge to curb EU powers. He ruled out any fallout from the EU election for Italy's government, dispelling suggestions that a good result would have tempted the League to pull the plug on its coalition with the M5S. "As far as I am concerned nothing changes at national level," Salvini said. But he added that he would push harder for his preferred policy agenda, which includes radical tax cuts in defiance of EU budget discipline rules and a high-speed rail tunnel to France opposed by the M5S.

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