Italians await Salvini’s comeback in his Veneto heartland

Matteo Salvini (R) chats with President of Veneto Region Luca Zaia during a party rally on August 30, 2019Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Mr Salvini whispers in the ear of Veneto’s League governor, Luca Zaia

It has been a dramatic summer in Italian politics in which right-wing, nationalist leader Matteo Salvini gambled on early elections and lost power. But in his League party’s traditional, northern heartland, loyalty runs deep.

“He took on the task of setting a new agenda in Italy and tackled the migrant issue,” says Verona pensioner Giovanni. “He didn’t have much time, but we will see what happens next.”

What do you think of the new government, I asked. “Very bad,” he said.

When Mr Salvini pulled the plug on his coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, his move backfired.

His partners formed an unlikely alliance with its former enemy, the centre-left Democratic Party, while the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, remained in place.