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Thousands gather to support Italian hardliner Salvini

Backers gathered in the town of Pontida.

Leader of The League party, Matteo Salvini, is cheered by supporters at a party’s rally in Pontida (Luca Bruno/AP)
Leader of The League party, Matteo Salvini, is cheered by supporters at a party’s rally in Pontida (Luca Bruno/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Thousands of die-hard League voters from all over northern Italy are gathering in a town in the foothills of Lombardy as Matteo Salvini relaunches himself as opposition leader after a grave political miscalculation landed the party out of government.

Backers wearing “Salvini Forever” scarves or “Salvini Premier” T-Shirts streamed into a meadow in the town of Pontida, near Bergamo, for the annual League rally.

The town inspires nationalists as the birthplace of a medieval alliance that defeated a foreign emperor.

Mr Salvini is seeking to whip up his base in opposition to the 5-Star-Democratic Party government that took office last week, depriving him of his position as Italy’s hardline anti-migrant interior minister.

A survey published on Sunday in the financial daily il Sole-24 Ore shows that despite Mr Salvini’s political missteps, the League remains the strongest party in Italy with 34% support.

PA

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