Salvini, Matteo

Salvini, Matteo, 1973–, Italian politician, b. Milan. A member of the right-wing League (formerly the Northern League) from 1990, he served as a Milan city councilor (1993–2012), in Italy's Chamber of Deputies (2008–9), and in the European Parliament (EP) (2004–6, 2009–18). Since becoming party leader in 2013, Salvini has worked to extend the party's influence from N Italy to the rest of Italy, and in 2015 he helped form an EP far-right political grouping that included Marine Le Pen's National Front and Geert Wilders' Freedom party. After the Mar., 2018, parliamentary elections, the League, which had campaigned on an anti-immigration Euroskeptic platform and placed third, formed a coalition government with the antiestablishment Five Star Movement (M5S), which won a plurality. Giuseppe Conte, a law professor who belonged to neither party, became premier, but Salvini, who was elected to the senate and became deputy prime minister and interior minister, was regarded by most observers to be the most influential politician in Italy. He subsequently abandoned his former anti-euro position as he moved the League more toward the political center, but also sought to enforce rigid anti-immigrant policies. In 2019, capitalizing on his popularity, he tried to force new elections, but M5S formed a coalition with the Democrats, ejecting Salvini and the League from the government.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian History: Biographies