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Italian Deputy PM Salvini is behaving like a neo-Fascist, former Italian Labor Minister says

28.10.2018 13:43
Matteo Salvini (PHOTO: Fabio Visconti, Wikimedia Commons)
Matteo Salvini (PHOTO: Fabio Visconti, Wikimedia Commons)

Former Italian Labor Minister Elsa Forner, speaking in a recent radio interview, said the current Italian Deputy PM and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is behaving like a neo-Fascist. Salvini, who heads the anti-immigration party Lega ("The League"), and wasted no time in responding bluntly.

Salvini called Forner a "snob", adding that the populist coalition Government will reverse her previous pension reforms, which raised the retirement age. "I am observing unacceptable cynicism mainly from Salvini," Forner told the Capital radio station.

"His kind of aggression and neo-Fascism are not demonstrated by many other Lega members," she said. "Let's just say this clearly - I don't know what other designation to use..."

"I have always been convinced that Salvini will never contribute anything to the good of the country - because of his methods, his coarseness, his aggressiveness, because he sometimes incites violence," the former Labor Minister said. "That is unacceptable from a Deputy Prime Minister."

Forner was the Labor Minister in Mario Monti's cabinet from 2011 to 2013, and when she had to announce a package of budget cuts shortly after taking office, she wept while doing so, something the media have never let her forget. Both journalists and the opposition reproached Forner during the economic crisis for behaving like a snob when it came to the problems of ordinary people.

She became infamous, for example, for saying "a job is not something one has a right to, but something one has to win, to fight for, to sacrifice for." The right to work, however, is anchored in the Italian Constitution.

The economic policy of that leftist government was completely overturned by the League's populist coalition and the Five-Star protest movement after the March elections. Overturning the pension reforms is just one of the items reflected by a sharp growth in Government expenditures.

Italy's draft budget for next year, according to the European Commission, violates the EU's budgetary rules in an especially serious way. In addition to that lack of financial discipline, the new Italian Government has disturbed its EU partners, the media and the opposition with an anti-immigration policy that is exceptionally harsh, for which Salvini in particular has been advocating.

Italy has closed its ports to nonprofit organizations and Salvini has pushed through a strict decree about migration, with the Interior Ministry most recently rejecting the immigration program of the Calabrian city of Riace, which is otherwise considered a model for successful integration. As Interior Minister, Salvini also proposed conducting a "head count" of the members of the Romani minority in Italy and keeping a special set of records about them.

That idea was criticized by Italian Senator-for-life Liliana Segre, who is a Holocaust survivor. Segre reminded the public that racial laws were instituted in Fascist Italy 80 years ago and said Salvini's proposals are reminiscent of that history.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Fascism, Italy, Politics, Populism



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