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Italian rightwing politician visits Moscow

Associated Press Associated Press 18/11/2016
Italy's Northern League leader Matteo Salvini attends a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Salvini is in Russia to meet the Italian community in Russia as part of his campaign against an institutional referendum sponsored by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's government to change the role of the Italian Senate as provided by the 1948 Italian Constitution. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) © The Associated Press Italy's Northern League leader Matteo Salvini attends a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Salvini is in Russia to meet the Italian community in Russia as part of his campaign against an institutional referendum sponsored by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's government to change the role of the Italian Senate as provided by the 1948 Italian Constitution. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW — The leader of Italy's right-wing, anti-EU Northern League party is visiting Moscow two weeks ahead of Italy's referendum.

Matteo Salvini has been one of the active "no" campaigners in the Dec. 4 constitutional referendum, on which Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political future.

Renzi is calling for changes which would make it easier for the government to pass legislation.

In an interview with Russian state TV broadcast Friday, Salvini voiced hope for Renzi's defeat, saying it would continue the anti-establishment trend of the British vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. election.

Salvini has sought to develop contacts in Russia. He has harshly criticized EU sanctions against Russia, saying that Italian businesses have lost $6 billion because of them.

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