Umberto Bossi

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The Senator
Umberto Bossi
Umberto Bossi daticamera.jpg
Federal Secretary of Lega Nord
In office
4 December 1989 – 5 April 2012
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Roberto Maroni
Italian Minister of Federal Reforms
In office
May 8, 2008 – November 16, 2011
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Preceded by Vannino Chiti
Italian Minister for Institutional Reforms and Devolution
In office
June 11, 2001 – July 19, 2004
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Preceded by Antonio Maccanico
Succeeded by Roberto Calderoli
Personal details
Born (1941-09-19) 19 September 1941 (age 73)
Cassano Magnago, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Lega Nord
Spouse(s) Manuela Marrone

Umberto Bossi (born September 19, 1941) is an Italian politician, former leader of the Northern League, a party seeking autonomy or independence for Northern Italy or Padania. He is married to Manuela Marrone[1] and has four sons (of whom one was from his first wife).

Birth and education[edit]

Umberto Bossi was born in 1941 in Cassano Magnago, in the province of Varese, Lombardy. He graduated from scientific high school (liceo scientifico) and later began studying medicine at the University of Pavia, though he did not get a degree. While there, in February 1979 he met Bruno Salvadori, leader of the Valdostan Union.

Politics[edit]

See also: Ideology of the Northern League

Before becoming a politician, Bossi was a sympathiser of the Italian Communist Party in his early years. After the death of Salvadori in a car accident during the summer of 1980, Bossi began focusing more on Lombardy. After two years, the autonomist Lega Lombarda was born. In that period Bossi met his second wife, Manuela Marrone.

The Lega Lombarda would later seek alliances with similar movements in Veneto and Piedmont, forming the Northern League, of which he was the federal secretary until April 5, 2012. He became the undisputed and unchallenged leader of the party, a position that he maintained until 2012, even after a serious stroke. He is currently the League's federal president, an honorary title devoid of real power, and is trying to regain the leadership of the movement he founded.

When the scandals of Tangentopoli were unveiled from 1992 on, Bossi rode the wave, presenting himself as the new man in politics, and set out to sweep away corruption and incompetence. Bossi himself, however, received an eight-month suspended prison sentence, along with Lega Nord's treasurer at the time of the events Alessandro Patelli, for receiving a 200-million lire bribe in a trial that also convicted many of the politicians he routinely attacked, such as Bettino Craxi, Arnaldo Forlani and others.[2] Bossi's sentence was upheld on appeal.[3]

In 1998, Bossi received a one-year suspended prison sentence for incitement of violence after he uttered the following sentence at a Lega Nord meeting: "We must hunt down these rascals [neo-fascists], and if they take votes from us, then let's comb the area house by house, because we kicked the fascists out of here once before after the war."[4]

While being Reforms minister in 2003 Bossi ordered the Navy to fire live rounds on boats holding illegal immigrants, stating "After the second or third warning, bang... we fire the cannon". [1]

Bossi was critical of the European Union, and once described it as a "nest of communist bankers".[5]

Bossi gave his last two sons unusual, politically charged names: "Roberto Libertà" (libertà means freedom, and it is a feminine noun in Italian) and "Eridano Sirio" (Eridano being the name of an ancient god of the Po river). The other son, Renzo, became the center of a controversy when, on May 2012, it was identified as the holder of a degree issued by a private Albanian university. Renzo Bossi apparently graduated university after only one year of attendance, instead of three. This notwithstanding the fact that previously it took to him three years to pass his high school maturity exam. He alleged that he "completed" all the exams in Albanian (a language he is not fluent in), and had not visited Albania even once (according to the Albanian border police system). Both Italian and Albanian prosecution offices investigated the case.

Institutional experience[edit]

Umberto Bossi (on the left) with Roberto Calderoli, Rosy Mauro, Roberto Cota and Federico Bricolo.

Bossi began his institutional career in 1987 as the only senator of the Lega Nord, of which he was the leader. He was then given the nickname Senatur (pron. [sena'tu:r]), senator in Lombard, which stuck even when he was later elected as a MP in the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

He was instrumental in the unexpected victory of Silvio Berlusconi's coalition in 1994, but he broke the alliance after just a few months, with the first Berlusconi cabinet collapsing before Christmas 1994.

Bossi agreed to return to an alliance with Berlusconi, which ultimately led to the (this time, easily predicted) 2001 electoral victory.

He then served in Silvio Berlusconi's second cabinet as Reforms Minister. However, after suffering a stroke on March 11, 2004, which seriously impaired his speech, he quit on July 19, 2004 to take up a seat as a member of the European Parliament, where he registered an attendance to 9 per cent of the plenary sessions in his last mandate.[6] Bossi later slowly returned to active politics.

Return to political activity[edit]

On 11 January 2005 Bossi appeared on the political scene at the last house of the Lombard federalist politician Carlo Cattaneo at Lugano after 306 days from the accident. During that day, he met the Minister of Economy Giulio Tremonti (Forza Italia) with whom he constituted the political agreement called the "Alliance of the North" (Asse del Nord). He also met a representative of the Lega dei Ticinesi, a Swiss localist Movement led by the Luganese entrepreneur Giuliano Bignasca. During his speech Bossi spoke against the "Europe of Masons".

During the national elections of 2006 he signed a political agreement with "Movimento per l'Autonomia" of the Sicilian politician Raffaele Lombardo.

On 17 September 2006 he returned in Venice for the 10th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Padania. He declarated that the Parliament of the North must be opened again.

On 2 February 2007, in Vicenza, he officially opened the first monthly meeting of the Parliament of the North.[citation needed] In the 2000 year, Umberto Bossi and Lega Nord have abandoned the idea of independence for Padania, proposed in 1996.

In September 2007, Bossi accepted an invitation by Father Florian Abrahamowicz to his celebration of a Tridentine Mass and said there were affinities between the Lega Nord and the followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.[7] Father Abrahamowicz is seen as unofficial chaplain of the party.[8]

Fourth Berlusconi cabinet[edit]

On May 8, 2008, he became Minister for Institutional Reforms again, in Silvio Berlusconi's fourth cabinet. He held the position until November 16, 2011.

Resignation as leader of Lega Nord[edit]

On April 5, 2012, when news broke of the alleged appropriation of party funds for the private affairs of his family, Umberto Bossi resigned as Lega Nord's federal secretary. Italian prosecutors have alleged that Bossi used the money earmarked for his party on his house renovations and on favours for his family.[9] Following the resignation, the Lega Nord instantly gave him the honorary position of party President.[5] Leadership of the Lega Nord is currently entrusted to a so-called "triumvirate" composed by Roberto Maroni, Roberto Calderoli and Manuela Dal Lago.

Interviews[edit]

  • "An Interview with Umberto Bossi". TELOS 109 (Fall 1996). New York: Telos Press

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MotherJones.com
  2. ^ "Bossi Joins Craxi in Corruption Conviction". The Guardian. 1995-10-28. p. 10. 
  3. ^ "Italian Court Upholds Corruption Convictions". Agence France-Presse. 1997-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Italian Separatist Leader Convicted of Inciting Violence". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 1998-02-22. 
  5. ^ a b "Italian Northern League leader Umberto Bossi resigns". BBC News. 2012-04-05. 
  6. ^ Official European Parliament website
  7. ^ Bossi a messa dai lefebvriani «Mi liberano con i loro canti»
  8. ^ Angela Merkel Attacks Pope Over Holocaust Bishop
  9. ^ Hooper, John (2012-04-05). "Umberto Bossi resigns as leader of Northern League amid funding scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio Maccanico
Italian Minister of Institutional Reforms and Devolution
2001–2004
Succeeded by
Roberto Calderoli
Preceded by
Vannino Chiti
Italian Minister of Federal Reforms
2008–2011
Succeeded by
Title abolished
Italian Senate
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Senator
Legislature: X

1987–1992
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Italian Chamber of Deputies
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Deputy
Legislatures: XI, XII, XIII, XIV

1992–2004
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Deputy
Legislatures: XVI

2008–2013
European Parliament
Preceded by
Title jointly held
MEP
1994–2001
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
MEP
2004–2008
Party political offices
New political party Federal Secretary of Northern League
1989–2012
Succeeded by
Roberto Maroni


External links[edit]