Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini’s habitual use of social media has helped to forge his path to government and boost support for his far-right party.
So it was fitting that Instagram users were for the first to learn of the end of his relationship with his TV presenter girlfriend Elisa Isoardi, who announced their split with a selfie of them in bed.
The break-up found space among the top items of news websites and television broadcasts in Italy, alongside stories about Rome’s war of words with the European Commission over its budget and storms that killed dozens of people in the past month.
Ms Isoardi, 35, who hosts a television talk show, posted a selfie of herself with Mr Salvini apparently asleep on her shoulder.
Beneath the picture, she wrote: ”It’s not what we gave each other that I will miss but what we still could have given each other… With enormous respect for the true love that was, thank you, Matteo.”
During their three-year relationship, Mr Salvini and Ms Isoardi were often on the covers of Italian gossip magazines as paparazzi tracked them from the canals of Venice to the beaches of Mediterranean islands.
Mr Salvini, 45, who is also interior minister and the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, was on a flight to Ghana when Ms Isoardi announced they were over.
He later wrote on Facebook: “I never threw my private life in the square, I won’t start doing it now, Italians don’t care. I loved, I forgave, surely I also made mistakes but I believed it all the way."
Last Friday, a poll showed that most Italians viewed Mr Salvini as the real head of government, with just one in six seeing prime minister Giuseppe Conte in that role.
Mr Salvini has led a crackdown on immigration since assuming office in June, closing Italy’s ports to migrant and refugee ships travelling from Libya.
The policy has placed a strain on the relationship between Rome and other EU nations and led him to be likened to Pontius Pilate by a French minister.
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