Italy: Lega moves in regional election past five-star movement

Matteo Salvini's right-wing national Lega emerged as winner of the election in Abruzzo. It was the first test for Italy's populist coalition government.

Italy is in a serious economic crisis. And on top of that, the country has a government that irritates on the European stage with nationalist and partly xenophobic tones.

Now the right-wing populists of the Lega of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, junior partner in the government in Rome, have inflicted defeat on their larger partner, the Five Star Movement.

In the regional election in Abruzzo, one of the poorest areas of Italy east of Rome, the legal alliance of Lega and right-wing and right-wing extremist parties has clearly won. The candidate of the five-star movement landed behind the bourgeois block even only in third place.

Lega helps right-wing extremist Marco Marsilio win the election

In direct comparison, the Lega got a good 28 percent, five stars, however, landed at 20 percent of the vote. In the parliamentary elections last year, they received in Abruzzo still 40 percent. The result confirms the downward trend of the anti-establishment party in the polls.

The election in the central Italian region was the first test for the governing coalition of Salvinis Lega and the five-star movement. The result should further complicate the cooperation of the two parties at the national level and give impetus to Interior Minister Salvini.

The candidate of the right-wing extremist Fratelli d'Italia, Marco Marsilio, who had also supported the Lega, got after counting almost all votes almost 50 percent. Fratelli d'Italia has entered into an alliance with the Lega and Forza Italia of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the region - at national level, the Fratelli sit as well as the Forza in the opposition.