Italian populist leader Matteo Salvini said “Europe is tired of being a slave to the elites” as his party swept to victory in the EU parliamentary elections.
With the count almost finalized, Salvini’s Lega party has captured 34.3% of the vote, with the center-left Democratic Party (PD) in second place on 22.7%.
Illustrating how far Salvini’s party has progressed, in the last European elections in 2014, Lega achieved just 6% of the vote.
Salvini’s success was matched by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the United Kingdom and by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France. While Farage was expected to win, Le Pen came out on top after a close race to beat Emmanuel Macron’s party.
Meanwhile in Germany, support for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party plummeted to a historic low.
The Italian Interior Minister said the results were a sign that “a new Europe is born, adding, “I am proud that the League is participating in this new European renaissance.”
“This is a sign that Europe is changing, Europe is tired of being a slave to the elites, corporations and the powers-that-be,” Salvini told reporters in Milan.
The Brexit Party will now become the largest party in the EU, although Farage will hope that’s only a temporary measure given his desire to see the UK leave the European Union.
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