The right-wing League has won control of the northern Italian province of Trento, ousting the center-left coalitions that have ruled for decades, in the latest breakthrough by the anti-immigrant party.
The League’s junior health minister Maurizio Fugatti was elected provincial governor on Monday with almost 47% of the vote, backed by a coalition including Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party and local civic lists.
The League, led by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, garnered more than 27%, almost twice as much as the center-left Democratic Party and quadrupling its vote at the previous regional election in 2013.
The League, which won 17% of the vote at a national election in March, has seen its popularity surge on the back of a vigorous campaign against illegal immigration, and is now Italy’s leading party with more than 30%, according to opinion polls.
Trento is one of the two provinces in the region of Trentino Alto Adige, which enjoys autonomous legislative and administrative powers that give it a significant degree of independence from the central government.
In German-speaking Alto Adige, the region’s other province, the Südtiroler Volkspartei (SVP) - a local party which normally governs with the center left - led the way with almost 42% of the vote. The League got 11%.
The SVP is now widely expected to govern Trentino Alto Adige with the League. “For the first time in the history of Trento and Alto Adige the PD and the left will pack their bags and go home,” Salvini said on Twitter.