Umberto Bossi

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

Umberto Bossi
Umberto Bossi datisenato 2018.jpg
Federal Secretary of Northern League
In office
4 December 1989 – 5 April 2012
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byRoberto Maroni
Minister for Federal Reforms
In office
8 May 2008 – 16 November 2011
Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi
Preceded byVannino Chiti
Minister for Institutional Reforms and Devolution
In office
11 June 2001 – 19 July 2004
Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi
Preceded byAntonio Maccanico
Succeeded byRoberto Calderoli
Member of the Senate
Assumed office
23 March 2018
In office
2 July 1987 – 22 April 1992
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
29 April 2008 – 22 March 2018
In office
23 April 1992 – 19 July 2004
Member of the European Parliament
In office
19 July 1994 – 10 June 2001
ConstituencyNorth-West Italy
In office
21 July 2004 – 28 April 2008
ConstituencyNorth-West Italy
Personal details
Born (1941-09-19) 19 September 1941 (age 80)
Cassano Magnago, Italy
Political partyLega Nord ('Northern League')
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Spouse(s)Manuela Marrone
ChildrenRiccardo, Renzo, Roberto Libertà, Eridano Sirio

Birth and educationEdit

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.


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 Lombard League 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 5 April 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 Northern League'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".[5]

Bossi was critical of the European Union, and once described it as a "nest of communist bankers".[6]

Institutional experienceEdit

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 Northern League, 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 an 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 11 March 2004, which seriously impaired his speech, he quit on 19 July 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.[7] Bossi later slowly returned to active politics.

Return to political activityEdit

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 the Movement for Autonomy, led by the Sicilian politician Raffaele Lombardo.

On 17 September 2006 he returned in Venice for the tenth 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] Umberto Bossi and Lega Nord have now 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.[8] Father Abrahamowicz is seen as unofficial chaplain of the party.[9]

Fourth Berlusconi cabinetEdit

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

Resignation as leader of Northern LeagueEdit

On 5 April 2012, when news broke of an alleged appropriation of party funds for the private affairs of his family, Umberto Bossi resigned as federal secretary of Northern League.[10] Italian prosecutors have alleged that Bossi used the money earmarked for his party on his house renovations and on favours for his family.[11] Following the resignation, the Lega Nord instantly gave him the honorary position of party President.[6] Leadership of the Northern League was initially entrusted to a so-called "triumvirate" composed by Roberto Maroni, Roberto Calderoli and Manuela Dal Lago. On 7 December 2013 Matteo Salvini took over as official leader of the party.[12]

With a decision of August 2019, the Supreme Court of Cassation decreed (as reported by Reuters) "that the case against former League leader Umberto Bossi and its former party treasurer had expired due to the statute of limitations, but the confiscation of the funds remained in place".[13] The ruling was published on 5 November 2019 after a Court of Appeals ruling of 26 November 2018 and initial ruling of 24 July 2017, related to the party's financial statements of 2009 and 2010.[14]

Electoral historyEdit

Election House Constituency Party Votes Result
1987 Senate of the Republic Lombardy LL 15,802  Y Elected
1992 Chamber of Deputies Milan LL 239,798  Y Elected
1994 Chamber of Deputies Milan LN 46,570  Y Elected
1996 Chamber of Deputies Milan LN 10,179  N Defeated
[a]  Y Elected
2001 Chamber of Deputies Milan LN 40,372  Y Elected
2008 Chamber of Deputies Lombardy LN [a]  Y Elected
2013 Chamber of Deputies Lombardy LN [a]  Y Elected
2018 Senate of the Republic Varese LN [a]  Y Elected
  1. ^ a b c d Elected in a closed list proportional representation system.

First-past-the-post electionsEdit

1994 general election (C): LombardyMilan 1
Candidate Coalition Votes %
Umberto Bossi Pole of Freedoms 46,570 48.7
Franco Bassanini Alliance of Progressives 24,305 25.4
Gianni Rivera Pact for Italy 11,321 11.8
Ignazio La Russa National Alliance 8,561 9.0
Others 4,829 5.0
Total 95,586 100.0
1996 general election (C): LombardyMilan 1
Candidate Coalition Votes %
Silvio Berlusconi Pole for Freedoms 46,098 51.5
Michele Salvati The Olive Tree 32,464 36.3
Umberto Bossi Lega Nord 10,179 11.4
Others 766 0.9
Total 89,507 100.0
2001 general election (C): LombardyMilan 3
Candidate Coalition Votes %
Umberto Bossi House of Freedoms 40,372 53.1
Alberto Martinelli The Olive Tree 31,454 41.3
Others 4,266 5.6
Total 76,092 100.0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  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. ^ "The Latest News from the UK and Around the World".
  6. ^ a b "Italian Northern League leader Umberto Bossi resigns". BBC News. 2012-04-05.
  7. ^ Official European Parliament website
  8. ^ Bossi a messa dai lefebvriani «Mi liberano con i loro canti»
  9. ^ Angela Merkel AttacMatteo Salviniks Pope Over Holocaust Bishop
  10. ^ Stille, Alexander (2018-08-09). "How Matteo Salvini pulled Italy to the far right". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  11. ^ Hooper, John (2012-04-05). "Umberto Bossi resigns as leader of Northern League amid funding scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  12. ^ "Lega: primarie, a Salvini l'81,66% dei voti a Bossi il 18,34%". Rome: Adnkronos. 8 December 2013.
  13. ^ Domenico Lusi (2019-08-07). "Italy's top court upholds seizure of League funds over corruption". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  14. ^ "Sez. FERIALE PENALE, Sentenza n. 44878 del 05/11/2019 (ECLI:IT:CASS:2019:44878PEN), udienza del 06/08/2019, Presidente IZZO FAUSTO Relatore MESSINI D'AGOSTINI PIERO" (PDF) (in Italian). 2019-11-05. Annulla senza rinvio agli effetti penali la sentenza impugnata nei confronti di Bossi Umberto e Belsito Francesco in ordine ai reati loro ascritti ai capi b) e c) perché estinti per prescrizione, nonché in ordine alla disposta confisca per equivalente, che elimina, ferma restando la statuizione della stessa sentenza sulla confisca diretta. Rigetta i ricorsi di Bossi Umberto e Belsito Francesco agli effetti civili in relazione ai reati di cui ai capi b) e c).

External linksEdit

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