Mr Salvini could serve up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the kidnapping charges. "I would do it again and I will do it again, also because just this July the arrivals are six times those seen in the same period a year ago, with the League party in government", a defiant Mr Salvini told the Senate after the vote. This opens the way for criminal prosecution Salvini court of Palermo in connection with its ban in August 2019 on the landing of 80 migrants from a vessel non-governmental organization Open Arms.
Mr Salvini, 47, insists that preventing irregular migrants from disembarking in Italy was government policy at the time.
The anti-immigration, conservative political leader is now set to stand trial in a comparable case. His League party was in a coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star, but now he is an opposition MP.
"It will be a joy for me to go to (court in) Sicily to defend my right to defend our attractive country", Salvini, 47, told the Senate before the vote, knowing that it would go against him.
The Open Arms spent nearly three weeks at sea past year after Salvini refused to give the OK for it to dock when he was a minister in Premier Giuseppe Conte's first government.
In February, the Senate voted to strip him of his parliamentary resistance in a comparable case, including the Italian coastguard boat, Gregoretti. The hearing was postponed three times because of this coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to happen in Sicily on October 3.
Thursday's vote may clear the way for potential charges against the former interior minister who, during his 14 months in that position, repeatedly denied port entry to ships carrying rescued migrants at sea.
"In that courtroom, I will - differently from others - I will go with my head held high and my back straight".
Political analyst Franco Pavoncello said the Senate's go-ahead on the Open Arms trial would "certainly have an impact on Salvini", whose popularity has dropped since the coronavirus pandemic swept through Italy.
Salvini's resistance League celebration remains the most popular in Italy, but it's been slipping in opinion polls.