The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics

The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics

The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics

The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics


Since the late 1980s, the Lega Nord has broken the mold of Italian politics. Federalist, secessionist, populist, it has succeeded in mobilizing the entrepreneurial class of Northern Italy in a campaign against the Italian state. In 1996, it launched the idea of Panadia, a separate Northern Italian nation. This proved to be a step too far, but the Lega remains a political force to be reckoned with, and has propelled "the Northern question" on to the national stage.


This book originated in conversations between colleagues who had each worked on the Lega Nord in the past and had adopted different perspectives. Talking the subject over, however, we discovered that our understanding of the Lega phenomenon was essentially complementary, in so far as it enabled us to cover its political, economic and social dimensions. We were determined from the outset to study the Lega as a political force which emerged in a specific socio-economic context and at a particular time in the evolution of Italian politics. By working together we could aspire to do this with a thoroughness that neither of us would have achieved without the other.

The book develops themes on which the authors have in some cases previously worked and published. Some sections of Chapter 3 previously appeared in an article by Anna Bull entitled ‘The Politics of Industrial Districts in Lombardy: Replacing Christian Democracy with the Northern League’, The Italianist, 3, 1993. The bibliography contains all our relevant publications on the Northern Question and Italian politics.

We have had the benefit of much insightful criticism from colleagues and friends in both Britain and Italy and wish especially to thank Gino Bedani, Roger Eatwell, Sergio Fabbrini, Salvatore Vassallo and Dwayne Woods. Palgrave’s external reader made a number of constructive and pertinent criticisms to our original manuscript that had the effect of causing us to rewrite many things and to rethink our position even when we disagreed with his/her comments. The book is unquestionably better because of this.

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided us with funds to carry out interviews with business and political leaders in northern Italy in June–October 2000. We wish to thank all the people we interviewed and others who made such interviews possible. In particular, we are very grateful to Maurizio Amenduni, Angelo Bendotti, Giuseppe Benigni, Franco Benincasa, Oliviero Bergamini, Giuliana Bertacchi, Massimo Bianconi, Emilia Borghi, Ermenegildo Borghi, Massimo Cacciari, Maurizio Fistarol, Marco Formentini, Eugenio Lapenna, Mario Moretti Polegato, Elio Mosele, Barbara Pezzini, Alberto Sciumè, Carlo Veronesi and Gianni Zonin. Anna Bull also wishes to thank the British Academy for an earlier research grant which enabled her to carry out a series of interviews with

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