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Northern League, Italy

Lega Nord

Last modified: 2017-09-04 by rob raeside
Keywords: northern league | lega nord |
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  images by M. Schmöger, 15 July 2002, 24 July 2002



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Overview

I do not want to say about Padania the same thing that Metternich told about the whole Italy many years ago ("Italy is only a geographic name") but there are people who are excessively stressing the concept of Padania as a "nation" different from the Italian nation. Because of its history, Italy was really a collection of peoples with different cultures and even idioms but after the two World Wars Italian peoples became one nation, thanks to State schools and radio-television. This is our last 50 years history. Now a political party called "Lega Nord" is trying to separate Northern Italy from the rest. They talk about a "Northern nation" with its own culture and (first of all) economy. The northern part of Italy is much more rich than the southern one; maybe it is more "European" in the sense of efficiency. The leaders of Lega Nord alternately use the words "secession" and "federalism": while "federalism" is a concept accepted by almost all the other parties (Italy is today a heavily centralized State), "secession" is of course illegal. IMHO most Northern Italian people do not want secession, but they want to control how our money is spent by the State, that is a federalist taxation system.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 May 1996

The flag of Lega Nord is a white flag with a red cross; over it a Medieval blue warrior. The flag (without the warrior) is the flag of Milano, the main city of Lombardia (even if the "capital of Padania" is Mantua, according Lega Nord), while the blue warrior is Alberto da Giussano, the leader of Lombardian revolt against the German Emperor. This flag is often fluttering together with the Venetian flag (a red and gold flag one with the St. Marc gold lion) to represent the "other" Padanian peoples apart form Lombardians, that is Venetians.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 May 1996

"LEGA NORD" is the federation of "LEGA LOMBARDA", "LIGA VENETA" and other regional movements of Northern Italy. As LEGA LOMBARDA is (was?) the biggest of them, LEGA NORD uses its flag, with the only change of the name.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 May 1996

Whilst watching the Austrian Grand Prix on the TV last Sunday, I noticed a group of tifosi (supporters of the Ferrari Formula One team) flying a "Padania" flag (white with the "green flower(?)" symbol from the Lega nord badge) above a Ferrari flag. This is the first time I've seen the "Padania" flag being used outside the immediate context of separatist political activity. Is it being used much by separatist supporters in northern Italy?
Roy Stilling, 24 September 1997


Politics

The Northern League almost never claims ethnic reasons for the independence of Padania, but the indigenous speeches of Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Trentino, northern Marches, of parts of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (on the southern coast, in the west and the east of the region), of the Aosta Valley (at least two non-Franco-Provençal speaking communes: Verrès and Pont-Saint-Martin) and of northern Tuscany (Lunigiana, Garfagnana other areas bordering with Emilia-Romagna, and the enclave of the commune of Camaiore), plus those, spoken outside the Italian State, of the Principality of Monaco, San Marino, Canton Ticino, southern Grisons, Istria and in the politically French territory from the Italian border to Monaco are - according to scholars like H. Lausberg, whose classification of Romance languages is the most widely accepted - dialects of one language. He called it, obviously without meaning that it's a part of the Italian linguistic system, "Northern Italian", using a word easy to be misunderstood, but in 1982, before that the Northern League was born, the linguist G. Hull named it "Padanian" and the land where it's spoken "Padania" in "The Linguistic Unity of Northern Italy and Rhaetia"(unpublished thesis presented at the University of Sydney). However most Northern League supporters don't know this and this party puts Italian (and other languages) speaking areas into its state project, like central and southern Tuscany, where standard Italian originated. Moreover, here is the URL of a site (in Italian and Padanian) where the meaning of the word "Padania" is explained: www.reocities.com/Athens/Thebes/8042
Davide Sivero, 3 December 1999

In Znamierowski's book [zna99] there is a mistake at p.  241: Padania's "independence" was proclaimed in 1996, not in 1986
M. Schmoger, 16 July 2000

Note that nowadays the official name is "Lega Nord per l'Indipendenza della Padania" (Northern League for the Independence of Padania).
M.C., 20 October 2000

"Lega Nord" (Northern League http://www.leganord.org) - The Lega Nord is a right-populist (with some racist tendencies) and autonomist-to-secessionist party in the richer Northern half of Italy. Different regional leagues had been founded in the period of 1979-1984, the most important one being the Lega Lombarda (led by Umberto Bossi, founded in 1984). The different regional leagues joined together in 1989-1991 to form the Lega Nord (led by Bossi). Although part of the first Berlusconi government in 1994, the coalition was an uneasy one and the Lega Nord brought about the fall of the Berlusconi government after only seven months in office. In 1996, the Lega Nord proclaimed the "independence" of the Northern part of Italy under the name "Padania". For the 2001 elections, however, the Lega Nord again became part of the coalition led by Berlusconi, the "Casa delle Libertà". The Lega Nord currently holds 30 out of 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) and 17 out of 325 in the Senato.

The symbols of the Lega Nord are described in their statute http://www.leganord.org/a_2_entrainl_statuto.htm#03:
"Art. 3 - Simbolo -  Il simbolo della LEGA NORD - PER L'INDIPENDENZA DELLA PADANIA è costituito  da un cerchio con all'interno il Sole delle Alpi, rappresentato da sei petali disposti  all'interno di un secondo cerchio e la figura di Alberto da Giussano, così come  rappresentato nel monumento di Legnano; sullo scudo è disegnata la figura del leone  alato con spada e libro chiuso, nella parte inferiore è la parola Padania; il tutto  contornato, nella parte superiore, dalla scritta Lega Nord. Tale simbolo è anche  contrassegno elettorale per le elezioni politiche ed europee, mentre per le elezioni  amministrative, ciascuna Sezione Nazionale può inserire, alternativamente, in basso o  sul lato sinistro del guerriero ed in orizzontale, il nome della rispettiva Sezione Nazionale. (...).
(The symbol of the Northern League - for the independence of Padania consists of a circle, therein the "Sun of the Alps", represented by six petals in a second circle, and t he figure of Alberto da Giussano, as shown on the monument in Legnano; on the shield is drawn the figure of the winged lion with sword and closed book, in the lower part is the word Padania; everything surrounded by the inscription Lega Nord in the upper part. This symbol is also the emblem for national and European elections, whereas for the regional elections, any National Section can add the name of the respective National Section horizontally, alternatively in the lower part or on the left side of the warrior.) The symbol of the Lega Nord can be found (for instance) at cedweb.mininterno.it:8890.
The flag shows a red cross on white, in the center of the cross a blue medieval warrior with sword and shield and a St Mark's lion, the blue inscription "LEGA NORD" and the green "Sun of the Alps", the symbol of Padania. The position of the "Sun of the Alps" seems to differ somewhat: in one variant of the flag it is in a small angle between sword and inscription, in a second variant it is bigger in the lower hoist canton. The flag comes in two sizes (100x150 cm and 70x100 cm), see www.legabg.org.
Photos of the flag at www.giovanipadani.leganord.org/00032.jpg, 00033.jpg, 00109.jpg, 00200.jpg, web.tiscali.it, index.hu/roma and www.merateonline.it.
M. Schmöger, 24 July 2002

Today the party Lega Nord (Northern League) doesn't want the independence of Northern Italy (Padania), but more autonomy for the Regions of Italy. The leader of that party is the Italian vice-prime minister and some ministers of the Italian Government are members of Northern League.
Guido Abate, 6 November 2002

image by M. Schmöger, 18 April 2013

The flags are changing over time. One of the recent changes, that also brought some changes in symbolism, is the transfer of the party leadership from Umberto Bossi to Roberto Maroni in 2012.

In addition to the different versions of the original LN flag (red cross on white, charged with the effigy of Alberto da Giussano), the LN in recent years became more "Italian", i.e. started using white flags with the circular logo. Up to recently, this logo usually contained the name BOSSI in base, but the current version shows the inscription PADANIA instead. [1,2]

image by M. Schmöger, 18 April 2013

The slogan for the February 2013 elections was "Prima il Nord!" (The North First!). This is also used on white flags (in green letters), together with the well-known Alberto da Giussano. [1,2,3,4,5]

Sources:
[1] http://www.targatocn.it/fileadmin/archivio/targatocn/tremonti_lega_nord_fossano_2013.JPG
[2] http://www.lapadania.net/uploads/1365350738060_Pontida6.jpg
[3] http://www.meda.leganord.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/20121216-084446.jpg
[4] http://www.maxorsatti.com/portale/images/stories/prima_il_nord_max_samu_jack.jpg
[5] http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-f3B4GbL7MaE/UI7a_zbF9AI/AAAAAAAABwE/SpcEG87-foY/s1600/20121021_130921.jpg

M. Schmöger, 18 April 2013


Padanian Youth Movement

image by M.C. and M. Schmoger, 23 July 2002

image by M.C. and M. Schmoger, 23 July 2002

The youth organization is the Movimento Giovani Padani (Movement of Young Padanians), that have their own flag. The official flag of "MOVIMENTO GIOVANI PADANI" (Young Padanian Movement), the movement of young supporters of Lega Nord-Padania. Official site at www.giovanipadani.leganord.org
M.C., 6 October 2000

Flag of the "Movimento Giovani Padani" (Movement of Young Padanians), the Youth Organization of the Lega Nord. It obviously comes in two different ratios (4:3 and 5:4). The flag shows on a white background a medieval warrior and the Padanian symbol, the  green "sun of the Alps", as well as the green inscription "Giovani Padani". Fotos of this flag in use (and of course other Lega Nord flags as well) can be found at www.giovanipadani.leganord.org especially 00066.jpg, 00111.jpg and 00050.jpg. The latter one shows the flag of the Muggio' local branch of the MGP (called "I Sgurbat Vert").
M. Schmoger, 23 July 2002