Italian election: will Berlusconi's right-wing coalition enter government?

Erika Holt
February 7, 2018

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to deport 600,000 illegal migrants, including Nigerians if he is re-elected.

The 81-year-old right-wing former prime minister said in a TV interview that immigration was a "social bomb ready to explode in Italy" and that Saturday's shootings in Macerata posed a security problem.

Berlusconi's Forza Italia has forged an alliance with two far-right parties, the Northern League and the smaller Brothers of Italy, ahead of the general election. "We consider it to be an absolute priority to regain control over the situation".

Italy has been inundated with migrants and refugees, with 600,000 arriving in the last four years after being rescued in the Mediterranean, and many ordinary Italians say that enough is enough.

According to RAI television, five men and one woman were wounded in shooting. "We will boost police presence and reintroduce the 'Safe Streets" initiative.

Mr Berlusconi also took a swipe at the European Union on Sunday for failing to share the burden of Italy's migrant arrivals, saying: "Today, Italy counts for nothing in Brussels and the world". Berlusconi has been banned from running for office after a series of scandals including tax fraud and sex parties.

Sporting a neo-Nazi tattoo on his forehead and an Italian flag draped across his shoulders, a man allegedly terrorized an Italian city Saturday by shooting six African immigrants in a two-hour gun spree. The country went from large-scale arrivals in the first six months to a sharp drop-off, thanks to the controversial agreement between the European Union and Libya.

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About 119,000 people came to Italy by boat previous year in total.

Leftist politicians accuse League leader Matteo Salvini of whipping up hostility to migrants with his often fierce rhetoric against the newcomers - a charge he denies.

Pamela's dismembered body was found Wednesday in two suitcases, two days after she walked away from a drug-rehab center.

The build up to the March 4 vote was shaken at the weekend when a neo-Nazi shot and injured six African migrants in central Italy, in a racially motivated attack after a Nigerian man was arrested on suspicion of murdering a local teenager.

The ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD) has been lambasted by opponents for not doing more over the past four years to stem the flow of some 625,000 migrants into Italy - most of whom set sail from Libya, which was plunged into chaos after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ousted former strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The Carabinieri commander in the Italian city of Macerata says the extreme right-wing suspect in drive-by shootings targeting African migrants was "lucid and determined, aware of what he had done".

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