The leader of Italy's right-wing League party, Minister of the Interior, Deputy Prime Minister and, according to many, the most influential member of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government, took charge of the party when it had 4% of the vote, and now, according to recent polls, would get 30% if elections were held today.
Who is Matteo Salvini? How does his communications machine work? What has he brought to Italian politics?
YouTrend's Giovanni Diamanti and Lorenzo Pregliasco have answered these questions in a book titled — "The Salvini Phenomenon. Who is he, how does he communicate, why do people vote for him" (Castelvecchi, 2019).
Sputnik has spoken about Mr Salvini's rise with one of the authors of the book — Giovanni Diamanti.
Sputnik: How and why did the phenomenon of Mr Salvini occur?
Giovanni Diamanti: First of all, the fact is that Salvini has talent and charisma. But beyond that, in Italy we are experiencing a moment of tremendous distrust in politics, which is making Italians look for new solutions.
In the past 5 years, we have witnessed several revolutionary electoral changes: first people voted for the Five Star Movement in 2013, then for the Democratic Party in 2014 (Matteo Renzi), and in 2018 we saw the League's growth in the south (Before Salvini, the party Northern League, as it was called, accused the country's poorer south of trying to live at the expense of Italy's rich and industrialised north — Sputnik).
Sputnik: Salvini is a man who knows how to seize the moment. He first took charge of a party that had 4% of the vote and today it has 32-35%. What, in your opinion, are the reasons behind his success?
His ideas relate to those of the right, but he presents them as just simple common sense, not an ideology. Moreover, he created a party in his own image and likeness, rebranding the League, changing the name of the party and the logo to win sympathy in the south of the country.
In addition, the party has largely won great support due to its stance on migration policy.
Sputnik: How does Salvini's League communications machine work? What are its strengths?
Giovanni Diamanti: For successful communication, you need to be aware of what is happening in the media every day and avoid sharp corners.
Salvini is excellent at avoiding uncomfortable topics. In addition, Salvini pays special attention to the so-called "quick response policy", when communication with voters is maintained 24 hours a day. As we can see, that's how Salvini keeps in touch with the Italian people, skillfully using social media.
As Salvini's PR agent Luca Morisi explains, the principles of Salvini's communication strategy are appearing on TV programmes, an active presence on social media and participation in local events (Salvini is everywhere, he does not miss a single chance to shine).
Sputnik: Is the success of Salvini his own work or his PR manager's, or is there a whole team of communication specialists whom we just don't see?
Giovanni Diamanti: Salvini has a highly professional team led by Luca Morisi. However, I believe that strong leaders are successful precisely because they are strong leaders.
*Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.