Anti-migrant leader pushes to win national power in Italy

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Northern League party leader Matteo Salvini greets supporters during a demonstration to protest against the Ius Soli law granting citizenship to immigrants' children in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. Opposition leaders accuse the Democrat-led government of being too accommodating toward migrants, who have arrived by the hundreds of thousands in the last few years after being rescued at sea from smugglers' boats that left the lawless shores of Libya. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

ROME — An Italian right-wing party leader has used a rally opposing easier citizenship for foreigners to seek more support in Italy's upcoming election.

Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-migrant Northern League, told the rally yesterday in Rome it would be "splendid" if he wins the national election to be held in early 2018.

Many in the crowd came from the south. Salvini hopes growing anger over the number of migrants in Italy will help his party become a national power by winning votes even from the south. The Northern League was created out of resentment over government aid to the underdeveloped south.

Premier Paolo Gentiloni's center-left government has proposed letting foreigners born in Italy become citizens as young as 12 after five years of Italian schooling. Currently they must wait until they are 18.

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