In the country’s prosperous north, there’s firm backing for League leader Matteo Salvini

To his many critics, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League, is a racist opportunist who is about to take Italy down a dangerously confrontational and xenophobic path. To his supporters, in the League’s northern heartlands, he is a “warrior” whose high-profile instalment as interior minister in western Europe’s first populist government is a symbol of the country’s much-needed pivot to the right.

That is certainly the view in Pontida, a relatively prosperous village in the northern Lombardy region’s Alpine foothills, where thousands of League supporters converge once a year for a rowdy celebration in the party’s honour.

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