Matteo Salvini, the rising star of the country's right-wing party Lega Nord has called Brexit a model for Italy to follow if the EU doesn't give political concessions to the country as it prepares for elections in which right-wing and regionalist parties are tipped to do increasingly well.
Lega Nord's projected 13.5 percent of the vote is just behind the 15.3 of the Forza Italia party led by the country's former flamboyant leader Silvio Berlusconi to whom Mr. Salvini has been compared and who may be a potential coalition partner. The general election is scheduled to be held on March 4.
In addition to leading Lega Nord, Salvini is also the head of another right-wing populist party "Noi con Salvini" ("Us with Salvini").
Potentially foreshadowing his positions in a potential future national government, Salvini said in an October interview with RT that, "Europe has to either change or cease to exist." He has also consistently stated his opposition to Italy's adoption of the Euro.
Often likened to UKIP leader Nigel Farage for his anti-EU campaigning, Salvini has previously claimed that Italian society is threatened by a wave of "Islamization," in particular as a result of largescale migration from North Africa attempting to reach other parts of the European Union such as Germany.
Business experts have long worried that, after the result of Britain's EU membership referendum in 2016, the next shock to the stability of the European Union could come from Italy. The country is among the most highly indebted in the Eurozone, to the tune of US$2.7 trillion, much of which is held by German financial institutions, Deutsche Bank in particular.