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Italian populist mixes religious symbols with his politics

ROME (AP) — Matteo Salvini slipped the rosary out of his pocket right before Premier Giuseppe Conte began his speech to Parliament. He took it out and kissed it again midway through the address, just as Conte began admonishing him for exploiting his Catholic faith for political ends.

The interior minister’s blatant brandishing of Catholic symbols has gone down as one of the most significant exchanges of his successful bid to topple Conte’s 14-month-old government, which collapsed Tuesday after Salvini’s League party withdrew its support.

While right-wing populists in the U.S. and…

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