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The resistible rise of the Lega in the South

18 5 2
15.02.2019

Letter. How is it possible that so many—more and more—southerners are voting for the party that is their worst enemy? The explanation is that they are not being informed, and are being silently stabbed in the back.

written by Piero Bevilacqua

Topic Italy

Also filed under commentary

February 15, 2019

The Lega’s electoral victory in Abruzzo has been viewed and interpreted by analysts mainly as the obverse of the collapse of the Five Star Movement. But few have analyzed it as a result that stands by itself, as a historical novelty in the electoral geography of the country.

Abruzzo is a region of the Italian South. Bossi’s Lega Nord built its first electoral successes on the contempt and accusations of criminality towards this part of Italy, and for decades its inhabitants have been dismissed by northerners under the stereotype of thieves and parasites. It was a campaign of hatred and contempt that in the ‘80s was already managing to undermine normal public funding and public investments in the southern regions, casting them as fraudulent in the public’s perception.

That attitude is still there today, unchanged.

In many areas of the northern regions, this campaign has built up anti-southerner prejudices and grudges over the decades. However, these have remained latent, simply because Salvini’s Lega has cast migrants in the role of the new enemy, exploiting the wave of migration in recent........

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