Italy’s right-wing populist leader Matteo Salvini is trying to trigger a political earthquake this Sunday.
With the support of veteran Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, Salvini is supporting League party candidate Lucia Borgonzoni, a political underdog, in Sunday’s election in Emilia-Romagna region.
If the League win they will take control of a wealthy northern region that has been a left-wing stronghold since World War Two.
Emilia Romagna’s incumbent governor Stefano Bonaccini is from the Democrat Party, which is a junior partner in Italy’s coalition government.
While winning Emilia-Romagna would be heavy on symbolism, Salvini’s real goal is to use a victory to destabilise the coalition and take power nationally.
But battling his hard-right anti-migrant policies are the supporters of the Sardines movement who rallied in their thousands in Ravenna on Friday night.
Their slogan is of “no insults, no violence, no flags,” and they support “sustainable democracy”.
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