Published 27th February, 2013
The Northern League or LN was founded in February 1991 as a federation of the Lombardy League (LL) and similar parties in Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Piedmont, Tuscany and Venice. The party believes in Federalism, Regionalism and Populism and has advocated the secession of the north or, as they call it, Padania In recent elections it has aligned itself with centre-right parties.
In its first elections in 1992 the Northern League took 55 seats in the 630 seat Chamber of Deputies and rode on a wave of disgust over bribery and corruption scandals hitting the establishment parties of the day.
In the 1994 general election the Northern League joined with Silvio Berlusconi’s Poles of Freedoms alliance of four parties and took only eleven seats but in the December withdrew from the Berlusconi government fearing for its own identity.
As a result, in the 1996 election the Northern League stood alone and won 59 seats to become the predominant party in northern Italy. During the late nineties the party tried repeatedly to push an independence line but, whilst gaining some support, they failed to gain sufficient traction and by 2000 their leader Umberto Bossi and Silvio Berlusconi had patched up their differences sufficiently for the Northern League to join the coalition of the centre-right led by Berlusconi which was now called the House of Freedoms.
In the 2001 election as part of the House of Freedoms the party won 30 seats and became part of a Berlusconi government one more time. But in the 2006 general election, still part of the House of freedoms they dropped seats, going down to 26 seats and into opposition to the centre-left government of Romano Prodi.
In 2008 the Berlusconi bandwagon was in full swing one more time and the Northern League won 60 seats as part of his coalition. They were back in government, but a deteriorating economy took its toll and in November 2011 Berlusconi resigned as Prime Minister and the technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti took over. The Northern League opposed the formation of a technocrat government
In the 2013 general election the Northern League were back supporting Silvio Berlusconi and his People of Freedom (PdL). The election was a major comeback for Berlusconi but the Northern League dropped nearly half of their support and managed just 18 seats.
The Northern League is affiliated to the Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy and is a member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament where it has nine of the 73 national seats.