Lega Nord

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Lega Nord
Party leader Matteo Salvini
Parliamentary leader
Founded December 4, 1989
Political ideology National conservatism
Political position Right-wing populist
International affiliation Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom[1]
Color(s) green
Website leganord.org

Lega Nord is a conservative political party in Italy. It is led by Matteo Salvini, under whom the party experienced strong electoral success.


While once a regionalist and left-of-center party, Lega Nord has since shifted strongly toward the right and tried to appeal to Italian voters throughout the country. Much of this shift occurred shortly before and after Matteo Salvini, who led the effort to expand it from just a regional party,[2][3] became its leader in 2013. While Lega Nord was in serious trouble when Salvini became party leader, he significantly grew the party to become the country's dominant political force by 2018 through focusing on a nationalist and populist agenda similar to that of U.S. President Donald Trump.[4]

2018 elections

The party was renamed "The League" for the 2018 general election, and it made massive gains, quadrupling its vote share. While it strongly opposes immigration, it elected the first black senator in Italian history, contrary to left-wing caricatures of it.[5][6] Lega performed so well that it became the dominant party in its coalition, overtaking Silvio Berlusconi's establishment Forza Italia,[7] and Salvini had a very real chance of becoming Italy's prime minister.[8]

In April 2018, during government coalition negotiations, the Northern League performed very well in an election in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia,[9] and it performed very well in local elections in June, after the creation of a coalition government.[10] An Italian poll in June 2018 found that Lega Nord had become the most popular party in Italy for the first time.[11] In the local elections held later that year, the League and its right-of-center alliance performed very well, even taking control of several cities under left-wing control for decades.[12] By early 2019, the League had doubled in popularity,[13] and its popularity continued growing.[14]

Populist coalition

The populist cabinet of the League–M5S coalition
2019 European Parliament election in Italy, in which the League won a nationwide election for the first time ever
See also: Giuseppe Conte

In May 2018, the League and the fellow anti-establishment Five Star Movement agreed to a common platform, one that promoted strongly nationalist and anti-establishment policies.[15] Both parties allowed their voters to choose whether they approved of the coalition agenda.[16] Despite this, Italy's establishment president rejected the coalition government as it supported nominating a Euroskeptic finance minister.[17] However, a few days later, the two parties were able to reach a compromise with Italy's president and finalized their governing coalition.[18] The new government, Western Europe's first one completely run by populist and anti-establishment parties, was sworn in on June 1, 2018.[19] The League received several important government positions, including Salvini as Interior Minister and in charge of Italy's immigration policy, and Lorenzo Fontana, a strong pro-life and social conservative advocate, as the minister in charge of family policy, among others.[20]

With Salvini in charge of Italy's immigration policies, the League showed it was serious about securing Italy's borders.[21] For example, early in the coalition government, Salvini refused to let a boat carrying over 600 migrants land in Italy as the country shared an undue immigration burden,[22] and he said he would continue such actions.[23] By the end of 2018, migrant ships stopped their activities because of Italian pressure.[24] The coalition announced it would crack down on illegal street vendors, many of whom are migrants.[25] In July 2018, Salvini blocked a private Italian ship carrying migrants from docking.[26] He also ordered that benefits for asylum seekers be massively reduced.[27] In September 2018, Salvini signed a decree which, among other actions, would ban residency permits for humanitarian reasons, increase funding for deportation centers, and removed citizenship from terrorists.[28] In November 2018, the coalition government announced it would not sign the UN Global Compact on Migration.[29] Migrant deportations increased 28% in the government's first six months in power,[30] and in 2018, the level of illegal immigration to Italy fell 80% while it doubled for Spain.[31] Migration levels continued to dramatically fall,[32] something confirmed by Frontex data.[33] The League pushed to make is more difficult for non-EU migrants to join a proposed basic income program supported by the M5S.[34] In May 2019, Salvini planned a decree to fine migrant boats €5,500 for each migrant they transport to Italy,[35] and the following month, he formally issued the decree which also included measures protecting the police.[36] Notably, Salvini began enforcing the law immediately after coming into force, countering a left-wing German migrant captain's attempts to abet illegal immigration to Italy.[37] Because of funding cuts on pro-migrant organizations that Salvini enacted, those organizations laid off thousands of workers.[38] In July 2019, Salvini closed what had been the largest migrant center in Europe.[39]

In August 2018, Salvini announced change Italian identification forms to list one's "mother" and "father", rather than "parent one" and "parent two."[40] In December 2018, the Italian Education Ministry, controlled by an ally of the League, gave approval to setting up crucifixes and nativity scenes in classrooms.[41] Salvini promoted gun rights as interior minister,[42] and the League did the same.[43] In March 2019, the Italian legislature passed a self-defense law Salvini and the League supported.[44] Salvini and the League took a confrontational stance toward the European Union.[45] In April 2019, Salvini announced he would increase police oversight of Islamic cultural centers.[46] Under Salvini's leadership, crime levels fell an average of 15% from 2018 to 2019.[47] Helped by Italy's Supreme Court, Salvini worked to strengthen regulations against cannabis in Italy.[48] Through his conservative policies, Salvini promoted traditional Christian values.[49]

In July 2019, Italy began increased border security patrols along its border with Slovenia because of increased illegal immigration levels.[50] Salvini worked to evict migrant illegally living in abandoned buildings.[51]

The League continued growing in popularity and became the most popular party in the country by 2018.[52] It continued winning regional elections, including breaking 25 years of left-wing rule in the southern region of Basilicata,[53] and it performed well in the 2018 local elections.[54] In the May 2019 European Parliament elections, the League performed very strongly, becoming the largest party in Italy with over 34% of the vote and one of the largest parties in the parliament.[55] The League performed particularly well in small towns and areas most affected by the migrant crisis.[56] The League again performed strongly in the local elections in May and June 2019, taking several cities that had been controlled by left-wing parties for decades,[57] and Tuscany, long a left-wing stronghold, began shifting toward the right.[58]

The populist coalition ended on September 5, 2019, when a liberal government was sworn in – Salvini attempted to call for new elections, but the M5S and the far-left Italian Democratic Party responded by forming a governing coalition with each other.[59]

In opposition

The new Democrat–M5S coalition began reinstating status-quo, open borders immigration policies,[60] and Salvini and the League strongly criticized the new coalition and its globalist policies.[61] On October 27, 2019, the League secured a historic election victory in the Italian region of Umbria, taking control of the state which had previously been only controlled by center-left, left-wing, and far-left parties.[62]

By November 2019, public support for the League alone equaled the combined support for the left-wing government coalition parties.[63]


Lega Nord takes Euroskeptic positions[64] and supports leaving the Euro.[65] It also takes nationalist positions, supporting putting the Italian people first when making policy, as opposed to advancing globalist ideals.[66] The party takes a skeptical stance on China's Belt and Road Initiative, with Salvini warning against foreign companies "colonizing Italy."[67]

Lega Nord also takes a strong position against mass migration and Islam,[68][69] and it supports strong border security actions.[65] The League also supports enacting tariffs on foreign products.[70]

Under Salvini, Lega Nord has aligned itself with other like-minded parties and politicians in Europe, including the French National Front led by Marine Le Pen and Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders.[7][71] It is highly critical of George Soros.[72] Antifa and anarchist groups have targeted Lega Nord because of its beliefs.[73]

Lega Nord supports preserving Italy's traditional Christian culture. Notably, in 2018, the League-controlled government of Lombardy blocked a Muslim association from buying and converting a Christian chapel.[74] The League is pro-life and led the successful effort to declare Verona a "city in favour of life,"[75] though some social conservatives have criticized the party, along with other European conservatives, for not pushing hard enough for pro-life policies.[76] Several members of the League, including Salvini and Italy's family and education ministers, have spoken at the pro-family World Congress of Families.[77] The League takes tough-on-crime positions and supports the chemical castration of rapists.[78] The League also opposes left-wing gender ideology.[79]

See also


  1. https://www.menleuropa.eu/
  2. Kirchgaessner, Stephanie; Tondo, Lorenzo (February 28, 2018). Matteo Salvini extends Northern League's appeal as far south as Sicily. The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  3. Balmer, Crispian (February 9, 2018). Italy's League leaves northern bastions, bangs anti-migrant drum. Reuters. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  4. Lyman, Eric J. (June 4, 2018). Matteo Salvini expands clout of Italy's League by stealing page from Trump's immigration playbook. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  5. Tomlinson, Chris (March 7, 2018). Right-Wing Italian Populist Is First Black Senator in Country’s History. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  6. Osborne, Samuel (March 7, 2018). Italy elects first black senator in history, for anti-immigration Lega party. The Independent. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Multiple references:
  8. Birnbaum, Michael; Pitrelli, Stefano (March 6, 2018). Matteo Salvini could be Western Europe's first far-right leader since 1945. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  9. Multiple references:
  10. Multiple references:
  11. Tomlinson, Chris (June 20, 2018). New Poll Shows Populist La Lega Most Popular Party In Italy For the First Time. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
    See also:
  12. Multiple references: See also:
  13. Williams, Thomas D. (March 19, 2019). Italy: Matteo Salvini’s League Party Doubles Popularity. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Segreti, Giulia (May 20, 2018). Italians back League, 5-Star plan as groups ready government team. Reuters. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
    See also:
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Multiple references: See also:
  19. Multiple references:
  20. Multiple references: Specifically for Salvini: Specifically for Lorenzo Fontana:
  21. Legorano, Giovanni (June 29, 2018). Italy’s Salvini Puts Roadblocks in Migrants’ Way While Reaching Out to Fellow European Populists. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  22. Multiple references: See also:
  23. Multiple references: See also:
  24. Legorano, Giovanni (December 7, 2018). Cowed Aid Agencies Cease Migrant Rescues in the Mediterranean. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  25. Tomlinson, Chris (June 27, 2018). Italy to Crack Down on Migrant Street Vendors with Massive Fines for Sellers and Buyers. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  26. For the first time, Italy prevents a private Italian ship from docking with rescued migrants. The Local. July 10, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  27. Tomlinson, Chris (July 27, 2018). Italy Slashes Asylum Seeker Benefit Payments. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Tomlinson, Chris (November 29, 2018). Populist Italian Government Latest to Back Out of UN Migration Pact. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  30. Hale, Virginia (December 18, 2018). Italy’s Migrant Crackdown: Expulsions up, Squatter Camps Cleared. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  31. Spain replaces Italy as Europe's main destination for migrant crossings. Reuters. January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
    See also:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Tomlinson, Chris (February 21, 2019). EU Border Agency Confirms Salvini’s Populist Migrant Policies Working. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  34. Italy makes it harder for non-EU immigrants to claim 'citizens' income'. The Local. February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  35. Multiple references:
  36. Multiple references: See also:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Tomlinson, Chris (June 11, 2019). Italian Pro-Migrant Groups Facing 15,000 Job Losses After Salvini Cuts. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. Multiple references:
  42. Johanningsmeier, Emma (November 7, 2018). Italy Loosens Gun Laws as Matteo Salvini Polishes His Tough Guy Image. The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  43. Hawkins, Awr (March 17, 2019). Italy Eyes Stand Your Ground-Style Law for Lethal Firearm Use. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Amaro, Silvia (March 22, 2019). Italy is side-lining itself from the EU. And its populist deputy leader stands to benefit. CNBC. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  46. Tomlinson, Chris (April 26, 2019). Salvini Demands Security Services Increase Observation of Islamic Cultural Centres. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  47. Tomlinson, Chris (May 7, 2019). Crime Down 15 Percent Under Salvini Interior Ministry. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  48. Italy court cracks down on cannabis shops in win for Salvini. Reuters. May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  49. Hoffman, Matthew Cullinan (May 30, 2019). Italy’s Matteo Salvini returning to European Union’s ‘Christian roots’: Cdl Mueller. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  50. Multiple references: See also:
  51. Multiple references:
  52. Williams, Thomas D. (October 6, 2018). Italy’s Populist League Party Hits Historic High in Popularity. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  53. Multiple references: See also:
  54. Politi, James (June 25, 2019). Salvini bolstered by Italian municipal election victories. Financial Times. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  55. Multiple references: See also:
  56. Multiple references:
  57. Multiple references: See also:
  58. Poggioli, Sylvia (October 14, 2019). Long A Bastion Of The Left, Tuscany Is Turning Hard Right. NPR. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  59. Multiple references:
  60. Multiple references: See also:
  61. Multiple references: See also:
  62. Multiple references: See also:
  63. Tomlinson, Chris (November 6, 2019). Italy: Salvini Support on Par with Leftist Coalition Govt Parties Combined. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  64. Deacon, Liam (January 20, 2018). Italian Election Favourite Blasts Brussels: ‘The EU Can Go F*ck Itself’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  65. 65.0 65.1 Montgomery, Jack (January 6, 2018). Italy’s Lega Nord Commits to Leaving the Euro, Tripling Deportations, and Securing the Border. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  66. Binnie, Isla (February 24, 2018). League leader pledges to put Italians first as election campaign intensifies. Reuters. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  67. Multiple references:
  68. Williams, Thomas D. (January 31, 2018). Italy’s Salvini Promises Sealed Borders, ‘Today’s Islam Is a Danger’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  69. Tomlinson, Chris (February 28, 2018). Italian Populist Leader Slams Pro-Migrant Bishop: ‘The Gospel Doesn’t Say to Welcome Everyone’. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  70. Koukakis, Nasos (March 2, 2018). Not all Europeans hate Trump's tariff policy — Italy's far-right PM candidate loves it. CNBC. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  71. Mcintosh, Jane (March 6, 2018). Who are Italy's two leading populist parties: Five Star Movement and the League? Deutsche Welle. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  72. Friedman, Victoria (June 4, 2018). Italian Populist: We’re Going in the ‘Right Direction’ If Soros Is Worried. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  73. Multiple references:
  74. Italy's League blocks Muslims from buying and converting chapel. Reuters. October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  75. Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet, declares itself pro-life. LifeSiteNews (from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children). October 8, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  76. Gennarini, Stefano (May 24, 2019). European ‘pro-life’ nationalist parties fall short on fighting abortion. LifeSiteNews (from C-Fam). May 25, 2019.
  77. Multiple references:
  78. Multiple references:
  79. Barillas, Martin M. (July 23, 2019). ‘Puberty is not a disease’: Italian council moves to ban gender-bending drugs for kids. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

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