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Blank book on why Matteo Salvini deserves respect becomes a bestseller

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Matteo Salvini, leader of The League party in January 2020.
Matteo Salvini, leader of The League party in January 2020.   -   Copyright  Cecilia Fabiano/Lapresse via AP
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A professional, serious-looking book on Matteo Salvini is, at first glance, an ode to Italy's divisive and controversial far-right leader.

Writ large in a bold white and red typeface, the book's title looks respectful: Why Salvini Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration.

But the charade falls apart upon opening the book. What follows are 110 entirely blank pages.

"Despite years of research, we could not find anything to say on the subject, so please feel free to use this book for your notes," the description on Amazon reads.

Salvini is the leader of the far-right League party. He was the country's deputy prime minister and interior minister for a little more than a year in a coalition government with the left-wing populist Five Star Movement (MS5).

But he pulled the plug on the coalition in August 2019, buoyed by opinion polls which put him ahead of MS5, in the hope of triggering new elections that would allow his party to rule alone. The political gamble backfired and the League was kicked out of government.

The €6.99 paperback was first released in February 2019 but made it top of the Amazon bestseller list in Italy on December 4.

It is signed by Alex Green, described as a "political analyst", but a note on the website clarifies that the name "is a pseudonym of an author who tries to bring a little humour to life, especially in these difficult times".