Affluent Secessionists: Italy’s Northern League

Affluent Secessionists: Italy’s Northern League

In the national elections held in Italy in late March that ushered in a “Second Republic,” the enfant terrible of Italian politics over the last several years, the Northern League, won only 8.4 percent of the national vote. Yet as a result of the concentration of that vote in the northern part of the country and of new electoral arrangements intended to break the hold of the country’s entrenched “partyocracy,” the League secured slightly more than one-sixth of the seats in the lower house of the new Parliament. It thus has veto power in the right-wing coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the neo-Fascist National Alliance that won a clear legislative majority in March. The League has variously been described in the U.S. press as “separatist,” “racist,” and “anti-immigrant,” and has even been likened to the National Front in France and to German neo-Nazis. What is the Northern League and what do its supporters want?

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