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Allegedly, the money was to be transferred from Rosneft to the League through a Russian subsidy of the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo , in which LN's federal council member Andrea Mascetti is a board member. The money was supposed to fund the coming European election campaign.

Italian authorities are currently investigating the matter. On 8 August Salvini announced his intention to leave the coalition with the Five Stars and called for fresh elections. The League thus returned into the opposition, together with its allies of the centre-right coalition. The first election after the formation of Conte's second government was the Umbrian regional election. In a traditional stronghold of the centre-left, the League won The party's ideology is a combination of political federalism , fiscal federalism , regionalism and defense of northern Italian traditions.

The historical goal of the party is to transform Italy into a federal state, letting Padania keep more tax revenues collected there under a regime of fiscal federalism.

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Through Lega Nord, federalism has become a major issue in the country. The original program of the party identified "federalist libertarianism" as ideology. When asked to tell his most preferred politician of the 20th century, he said Giacomo Matteotti , a Socialist MP who was killed by Fascist squads in and remembered his anti-fascist and left-wing roots. Lega Nord's political culture is a mix of northern Italian pride or even Padanian nationalism , often with claims of a proud Celtic heritage; resentment of perceived southern Italian habits and Roman authorities; distrust of the Republic of Italy and especially its flag ; and some support for the free market , anti- statism , anti-globalism and separatism or secessionism.

The party boasts historical references to the anti- imperialist Lombard League and Alberto da Giussano stylised in the party's symbol , the hero of the wars against Frederick I Barbarossa. Lega Nord has long maintained an anti- southern Italian stance. Party members have been known to oppose large-scale southern Italian migration to northern Italian cities, stereotyping southern Italians as welfare abusers, criminals and detrimental to Northern society. Party members have often attributed Italy's economic stagnation and the disparity of the North-South divide in the Italian economy to supposed negative characteristics of the southern Italians, such as lack of education, laziness, or criminality.

At times, it has seemed possible that the League might unite with similar leagues in central and southern Italy , but it has not succeeded in doing so. The party continues dialogue with regionalist parties throughout Italy, notably the South Tyrolean People's Party , the Valdostan Union , the Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party , the Movement for the Autonomies and the Sardinian Action Party ; and it has some figures from the South in its parliamentary ranks.

Although it is no longer a member of the European Free Alliance , the party has ties with many regionalist parties around Europe, including left-wing parties such as the Republican Left of Catalonia. Lega Nord aims at uniting all those northern Italians who support autonomy and federalism for their land. For this reason, it has tended to be a multi-ideological catch-all party , especially at its beginnings, [] [] following what Bossi stated in to his early followers: "It does not matter how old are you, what your job is and what your political tendency: what matters is that you and we are all Lombard.

The convictions of Salvadori on federalism, the self-determination of the peoples the so-called nations without state and the belonging to a people on the basis of cultural criteria and not on blood, were adopted by the future leader of the League". Since the beginning the electorate of the party has been very diverse on a left-right scale.

At the general election , for instance, It is quite difficult to define it in the left-right spectrum because it is variously conservative, centrist and left-wing with regard to different issues. For example, the party supports both liberal ideas such as deregulation and social democratic positions such as the defense of workers' wages and pensions. This is because Lega Nord, as a "people's party" representing the North as a whole, includes both liberal-conservative and social democratic factions.

Generally speaking, the party supports the social market economy and other typical issues of Christian democratic parties [29] and has been described as a "neo- labour party " by some commentators [] and also by some of its members. The party is also libertarian populist in its promotion of small ownership, small and medium-sized enterprise, small government as opposed to governmental bureaucracy , waste of public funds, pork barrel spending and corruption.

According to many observers, under Matteo Salvini the party has lurched to the right, but both Salvini, a former communist; and Luca Zaia insist the party is "neither right nor left" [] [] while Roberto Maroni , another former leftist, stated that "we are a big political movement which has in its platform issues and people of right and left". The party usually takes a socially conservative stance on social issues, such as abortion, euthanasia , medical embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination , same-sex marriage although there is an association called Los Padania , where "Los" stands for "free sexual orientation", linked to the party and Lega Nord was once in favour of same-sex marriage [] and drug use although it did once support the legalization of marijuana along with Marco Pannella 's Radicals.

Despite this, the party has been home to some social liberals , namely Giancarlo Pagliarini , Rossana Boldi , Giovanna Bianchi Clerici [] and to some extent Roberto Castelli. In its political programme, the party is committed to the environment , supporting public green areas, the establishment of natural parks, recycling and the end or regulation of the construction of sheds in country areas, especially in Veneto.

In foreign policy, the League has never had a particularly pro-United States stance, although it admires the American federal political system. Through the Associazione Umanitaria Padana , Lega Nord participates in humanitarian projects which are intended to respect local cultures, traditions and identities. The campaigns are carried out in poor countries or in those that have suffered from war or natural catastrophes. The exact program of Lega Nord was not clear in the early years as some opponents claimed it wanted secession of Padania while at other times it appeared to be requesting only autonomy for Northern regions.

The League eventually settled on federalism , which rapidly became a buzzword and a popular issue in most Italian political parties. By , the party switched to open separatism , calling for the independence of Padania. The party's constitution was reformed accordingly and still proclaims at article 1 that the LN's fundamental goal is "the achievement of the independence of Padania, through democratic means, and its international recognition as independent and sovereign federal republic".

In September in Venice, the party unilaterally proclaimed the independence of Padania at which time while reading the Padanian Declaration of Independence Bossi announced:. We the peoples of Padania solemnly declare that Padania is an independent and sovereign federal republic. We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour. The renewed alliance with Berlusconi in forced the party to tone down its separatism and Padania became the name of a proposed "macro-region", based on the ideas of Miglio: the establishment an Italian federal republic, divided into three "macro-regions" "Padania", "Etruria" and the "South" and some autonomous regions.

This evolution caused some criticism within party ranks and led to the formation of some minor breakaway groups. Lega Nord often criticises the European Union it was the only party in the Italian Parliament, along with the Communist Refoundation Party , to vote against the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , but it voted in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon [] and opposes what it calls the " European superstate ", favoring instead a "Europe of the Regions".

However, according to Roberto Maroni the party is not Eurosceptic and stands for a "new Europeanism". In a public speech in , he said to party activists: "We should start looking at Padania in a Northern, European perspective.

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The party takes a tough stance on crime, illegal immigration , [] especially from Muslim countries, and terrorism. It supports the promotion of immigration from non-Muslim countries in order to protect the "Christian identity" of Italy and Europe, which according to party officials should be based on "Judeo-Christian heritage". While noting that those expressing themselves this way were mostly local representatives of this party, according to the ECRI "representatives exercising important political functions at national level have also resorted to racist and xenophobic discourse.

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Such discourse has continued to target essentially non-EU immigrants, but also other members of minority groups, such as Roma and Sinti. The ECRI also recalled that "in December , the first instance Court of Verona found six local representatives of Lega Nord guilty of incitement to racial hatred in connection with a campaign organised in order to send a group of Sinti away from a local temporary settlement".

Although several LN members speak strongly against illegal immigrants Bossi suggested in opening fire on the boats of illegal immigrants from Africa, whom he described as bingo-bongos ; [] and Giancarlo Gentilini labeled foreigners as "immigrant slackers", saying that "we should dress them up like hares and bang-bang-bang" , [] the party's official line is more moderate.

In a interview after some riots in Milan between South American and North African immigrants, Maroni, then Minister of the Interior, stated that "the police state is not the solution" to integration problems and calling for a "new model of integration" maintained that "we should think that, other than a permit of stay, a job and a house, there are further conditions that today are missing for integration to succeed".


Lega Nord rejects all charges of xenophobia, instead claiming that the North is the victim of discrimination and racism. In an interview with The Independent , Cane said that the League does not include racist or xenophobic members.

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The party making use of the figure of Alberto da Giussano —legendary warrior of the Lombard League during the Battle of Legnano —in his iconography and campaigns, Lega is commonly called " il carroccio " in the Italian media, a reference to a four-wheeled war altar used during the battle. Although there are almost no official factions within the party, it is possible to distinguish several tendencies or wings. The wing from the province of Varese and more broadly the bulk of the original Lega Lombarda including Umberto Bossi , Roberto Maroni and Marco Formentini has tended to be the left-wing of the party while that from the province of Bergamo notably Roberto Calderoli has tended to be more conservative.

In fact, both Bossi and Maroni hailed from the far-left of the political spectrum, having been active in the Italian Communist Party , il manifesto movement, the Party of Proletarian Unity , Proletarian Democracy and the Greens before starting Lega Lombarda; [] [] and conceived Lega Nord as a centre-left and to some extent social-democratic political force. Since its foundation, Liga Veneta was instead characterised as a liberal, centrist and economically libertarian outfit due to the political upbringing of its early leaders and a more conservative electoral base.

In the early s, the League stole votes especially from the Communists and the Socialists in western and central Lombardy while the party electorally replaced Christian Democracy in eastern Lombardy and Veneto. In Emilia-Romagna , a left-wing heartland, the party has many former Communists in its ranks and many others have Communist upbringings. The League is home also to some issue-oriented groups. First, there is a group of Christian democrats , most of whom are affiliated to the Padanian Catholics, founded by late Roberto Ronchi and currently led by Giuseppe Leoni.

Another leading Catholic is Massimo Polledri. There is a right-wing which is represented mainly by Mario Borghezio , a former Monarchist who is the leader of Christian Padania, which is a key advocate of social conservatism within party ranks and has some links with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X. Third and fourth, the party has always included also a group of libertarians , whose leading members Leonardo Facco , Gilberto Oneto and Giancarlo Pagliarini have since left the party; and an Independentist Unit.

Oneto, father of Padanian nationalism ; and Pagliarini were also close to this group. Finally, the party is home to an agricultural wing, which is particularly strong in southern Lombardy , Emilia-Romagna and Veneto and is represented by the Cobas del latte , a farmers' trade union; the Land Movement, whose leader was Giovanni Robusti ; [] and politicians such as Luca Zaia , a former Minister of Agriculture, Fabio Rainieri , one of the leader of Lega Nord Emilia ; and Erminio Boso , a historic and now marginal figure from Trentino.

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In October , Lega Nord organised what it called "the first elections to the Padanian Parliament". This is a short resume of the affiliations of leading party members: [] [] [] [] [] [].