Liga Veneta

Liga Veneta

name_english = Liga Veneta

leader =
leader1_title = Secretary
leader1_name = Gian Paolo Gobbo
leader2_title = President
leader2_name = Flavio Tosi
leader3_title =
leader3_name =
leader4_title =
leader4_name =
foundation = 6 January 1980
dissolution =
headquarters =
newspaper = none
membership = "unknown"
ideology = Venetism, Fiscal federalism, Federalism, Regionalism
coalition = with The People of Freedom
international = "none"
european = "none"
europarl = Union for Europe of the Nations
website =
colorcode = red

Liga Veneta ("Łiga Vèneta", Venetian League, LV) is a regionalist political party based in Veneto, combining Venetism and fiscal federalism.

It was the first party of its kind in Northern Italy, predating Umberto Bossi’s Lega Lombarda by four years, and was a founding member of Lega Nord, a federation of regionalist parties of Northern Italy (the so-called Padania), in 1991. Since then Liga Veneta is the regional section of the federal party, thus retaining some independence.

The party is currently led by Gian Paolo Gobbo (national secretary), whose deputy is Federico Bricolo, and Flavio Tosi (national president).


Early years (1978–1989)

Liga Veneta was promoted in 1978 by Franco Rocchetta, a Venetian philologist who spoke of a "Venetian league" since 1968. The party constitution, designed on the constitutions of the Valdotanian Union and the Radical Party, was officially signed by 14 founding members on 16 January 1980 in Padua. [ [ Short History of the Venetian Autonomism] , Raixe Venete]

In the 1983 general election the party gained 4.3% in Veneto, getting elected Achille Tramarin, first secretary of the party from 1980 to 1984, to the Chamber of Deputies and Graziano Girardi to the Senate. In the "Pedemontana", the area of the Padanian-Venetian Plain at the feet of the Venetian Prealps, Liga Veneta became the second-largest party after the Christian Democracy (DC), at the time dominant force in Venetian politics. DC would have been the most damaged party from the rise of Liga Veneta, as both parties concurred for the identical base of support, the moderate middle-class.

Soon after the election, a power struggle for the leadership of the party took place and the winner was Franco Rocchetta, who had been behind the scenes up to that moment. Tramarin was replaced as national secretary by Marilena Marin, future wife of Rocchetta.

In the 1985 regional election the party scored 3.7% and two regional deputies: Ettore Beggiato and Franco Rocchetta. Liga Veneta Serenissima of Tramarin, expelled from the party by Marin, won only 0.2% of the votes [ [ ::: Ministero dell'Interno ::: Archivio Storico delle Elezioni - Regionali del 12 Maggio 1985 ] ] and since then the Rocchetta-Marin couple had the party in their hands. That of Tramarin was not the last split in that period, in fact Liga Veneta suffered the competition of many regionalist parties, notably the Union of the Venetian People (UPV), formed by Beggiato along with Tramarin and Girardi, after that he too was expelled by Marin, and Autonomous Veneto.

Foundation of Lega Nord (1989–1994)

In 1989 the party's charismatic leader, Franco Rocchetta, and his wife Marilena Marin, secretary of the party, managed to forge an alliance with Umberto Bossi for the subsequent European Parliament election, the Alleanza Nord (North Alliance). In 1989-1990 it took part in the process of federating the Northern regionalist parties, ahead of the regional elections. In the 1990 regional election Liga Veneta and UPV scored 5.9% and 1.9%, respectively. Some attempts to merge the two parties into one failed, but from that point, thanks to the alliance with Bossi, Liga Veneta's rise seemed unstoppable.

In February 1991 Liga Veneta joined Lega Lombarda and other several regionalist parties from every Northern region to form Lega Nord and since then it is the regional section of that party in Veneto. Umberto Bossi was elected federal secretary and Franco Rocchetta federal president. Thanks to the federal structure of Lega Nord and to its ideology (for Umberto Bossi, Padania is a country formed of different nations: Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, etc.), the party retained much of its independence, as every regional party did.

In the 1992 general election Lega Nord scored 8.7% throughout the country and Liga Veneta won 17.3% of the votes in Veneto, re-entering the Italian Parliament after five years of absence. UPV and Autonomous Veneto both won 1.5% of the votes, while another regionalist party formed by former Socialist Mayor of Venice Mario Rigo, Lega Autonomia Veneta touched 6%. The Venetist movement altogether gained the support of more than a quarter of Venetian voters.

Golden age and internal splits (1994–1998)

In the 1994 general election Liga Veneta won 21.6% of the votes in Veneto and three of its members joined the Berlusconi I Cabinet: Franco Rocchetta as Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mariella Mazzetto of Education and Giovanni Meo Zilio, a former Socialist partisan during Italian resistance, of University and Research. Notably no ministers of Lega Nord (five) came from Veneto. Between 1994 and 1995 Liga Veneta was also part of the regional government for the first time, with Gian Paolo Gobbo as Vice President.

In July 1994 Marilena Marin was replaced by Fabrizio Comencini as national secretary of Liga Veneta, while Gian Paolo Gobbo was elected national president. Shortly after, in September, Franco Rocchetta and Marilena Marin left the party in disagreement with Umberto Bossi and new new leadership of Liga Veneta. Rocchetta was re-placed by Stefano Stefani, leading member of Liga Veneta, as federal president of Lega Nord in February 1995. The exit of Rocchetta and Marin made possible the comeback of Ettore Beggiato in the party. Thanks to this Liga Veneta did not suffer a major setback in the 1995 regional election: 17.4% and 10 regional deputies elected.

In 1996 general election Umberto Bossi led Lega Nord to its strongest showing ever in a general election: with 10.1% of the votes, Lega Nord, present only in Northern Italy, became the fourth largest party of Italy. Fabrizio Comencini's Liga Veneta was the strongest national section of the League: 29.3% in Veneto, with 19 deputies and 9 senators elected, most of them in single-seat constituencies, in which it won 32.8% of the vote, thanks to the split-ticket voting by many voters, mainly of the centre-right.

In 1998 Fabrizio Comencini left the party over disagreements with Bossi and formed a brand-new Venetist party named Liga Veneta Repubblica (then Veneti d'Europa). Nine regional deputies out of 10 followed Comencini in the new party, while Gian Paolo Gobbo took over as national secretary of Liga Veneta, along-with a new national president, Giuseppe Ceccato (who left the party in 1999 and was replaced by Gianpaolo Dozzo).

Decline and resurgence (1998–2005)

By 2000 the party started to recover from the schism of 1998 and took 12.0% of the votes in the regional election (the combined score of Veneti d'Europa and of Fronte Marco Polo, another split, was 3.7%), joining for the second time the regional government.

In the 2001 general election Liga Veneta had its worst result since 1987 in term of share of votes: only 10.2% throughout Veneto, with 9 deputies and 4 senators elected, all in single-seat constituencies, thanks to the alliance with Forza Italia within the House of Freedoms coalition. After the election, Gianpaolo Dozzo and Stefano Stefani joined Berlusconi II Cabinet as Under-Sectretaries, of Agriculture and Industry respectively.

In 2002 the party won for the second time in a row the provincial elections in Vicenza and Treviso. The Province of Treviso confirmed itself as the most-"leghista" province of Italy and young Luca Zaia was re-elected Provincial President with more of the 40% in the first round and with almost 70% of the votes in the second round, although he refused the support of Lega Nord’s allies in Rome and Venice, Forza Italia and the National Alliance.

During the same year former Venetian Senator Luciano Gasperini was elected federal president of Lega Nord. In a party congress in Vicenza, Gian Paolo Gobbo was re-elected national secretary and Manuela Dal Lago, former Italian Liberal Party’s provincial secretary and then president of the Province of Vicenza, was elected national president.

In the 2005 regional election Liga Veneta, with its 14.7%, was decisive for the third re-election of Giancarlo Galan as President of Veneto. Counting the support of concurrent regionalist parties (North-East Project and Liga Fronte Veneto, 5.4% and 1.2% respectively), after the election, Veneto was again the most independentist region in Italy. Liga Veneta joined the Galan III Government, with Luca Zaia Vice President of the Region and Minister of Agriculture and Flavio Tosi Minister of Health.

2006 general election

In the 2006 general election, the party scored 11.1% and got elected 5 deputies (Federico Bricolo, Gianpaolo Dozzo, Guido Dussin, Alberto Filippi and Paola Goisis) and 3 senators (Paolo Franco, Stefano Stefani and Piergiorgio Stiffoni). It was the worst result in terms of elected members in the Italian Parliament since 1987, due to the razor-edge victory of the centre-left, which won the majority-premium in the Chamber of Deputies and to the presence of the rival North-East Project (2.7%) and of Liga Fronte Veneto (0.7%). Also Forza Italia, led by the autonomist president of the Region Giancarlo Galan had a strong showing in Veneto, scoring 24.5%.

In May Leonardo Muraro was elected President of the Province of Treviso, historic stronghold of the League in Veneto, and Liga Veneta scored 29.2% (combined result of party list, 15.6%, and Luca Zaia’s personal list, 13.6%), despite the good result of the rival North-East Project (11.6%).

2007 local elections

On 28 May 2007 Flavio Tosi was elected Mayor of Verona by a landslide (60.8% against the 33.9% of incumbent Paolo Zanotto), while Attilio Schneck (60.0%, largely ahead of his opponents: the centre-left candidate Pietro Collareda got only the 17.2%, while Giorgio Carollo, former leader of Forza Italia in Veneto supported, among others, by his Veneto for the European People's Party and Liga Fronte Veneto, took the 9.9%) succeeded to Manuela Dal Lago as President of the Province of Vicenza.

Both Tosi, who is the second "leghista" to be mayor of a big city after Marco Formentini in Milan between 1993 and 1997, and Schneck were supported by the House of Freedoms coalition, but Liga Veneta had an excellent result in both races: in Vicenza, where it won 19.0% of the votes (despite the presence on the ballot of several rival regionalist parties), and especially in Verona, where it ranked first among the parties with the 28.4% (combined score of party list, 12.0%, and Tosi's ersonal list, 16.4%). In June 2007, Tosi was replaced as regional Minister of Health by Francesca Martini, a fellow of Roberto Maroni and Gian Paolo Gobbo.

2008 general election

In the 2008 general election Liga Veneta won a surprising 27.1% in Veneto, its best result since the 1996 election, getting elected 15 deputies, including Stefano Stefani, Manuela Dal Lago, Francesca Martini and Gianpaolo Dozzo, and 7 senators, including Federico Bricolo and Paolo Franco. Meanwhile Gian Paolo Gobbo was re-elected Mayor of Treviso with 50.4% of the vote, two times the score of his principal opponent. The combined result of Liga Veneta and Giancarlo Gentilini's personal list was 35.4%.

After the general election Luca Zaia became Minister of Agriculture and Francesca Martini Under-Secretary of Health in Berlusconi IV Cabinet. Federico Bricolo became floor leader of Lega Nord in the Italian Senate. Zaia and Martini were subsequently replaced in the regional government by Franco Manzato and Sandro Sandri, respectively.

On 20 July 2008 Liga Veneta held its national congress in Padua. Gian Paolo Gobbo was re-elected for the fourth time national secretary, while Flavio Tosi replaced Manuela Dal Lago as national president. Tosi appeared to be also the standard-bearer for being the party's candidate for President of Veneto in 2010, along with Luca Zaia. [] [ [,15499542.html | | ALICE Notizie ] ]


The party is represented in the Italian Parliament by 15 deputies and 7 senators, in the Regional Council of Veneto by 11 regional deputies (including President Marino Finozzi). Lega Lombarda controls also two Provinces of Veneto (Treviso and Vicenza), and the Mayorships of Verona, Treviso and San Donà di Piave.

The party has two ministers in the regional government (including Vice President Franco Manzato and two members of the Berlusconi IV Cabinet: Luca Zaia, Minister of Agriculture, and Francesca Martini, Under-Secretary of Health.

Members of Liga Veneta successively held office as federal president of Lega Nord from 1991 to 2005:
*Franco Rocchetta (1991−1994)
*Stefano Stefani (1995−2002)
*Luciano Gasperini (2002−2005)

Members of Liga Veneta were also floor leader of Lega Nord in the Italian Senate:
*Luciano Gasperini (1999−2000)
*Federico Bricolo (2008−...)

Gasperini was also the party's candidate for President of the Republic in 1999.

Popular support

The party has its stongholds in the provinces of the "Pedemontana" (30-40%), which is to say the area at the feet of the Venetian Prealps, and in mountain areas (over 40% in the Altopiano di Asiago, Comelico and Cadore). In the 2008 general election it scored 33.0% in the Province of Verona, 31.1% in Vicenza, 31.0% in Treviso and 27.6% in Belluno. In the remaining provinces it was less strong: 24.1% in Padua, 19.5% in Venice and 16.5% in Rovigo.

The electoral results of Liga Veneta in Veneto are shown in the table below.


*National Secretary: Achille Tramarin (1980−1984), Marilena Marin (1984−1994), Fabrizio Comencini (1994−1998), Gian Paolo Gobbo (1998−...)
*National President: Franco Rocchetta (1980−1994), Gian Paolo Gobbo (1994−1998), Giuseppe Ceccato (1998–1999), Gianpaolo Dozzo (1999−2001), Manuela Dal Lago (2001−2008), Flavio Tosi (2008–...)



* [ Short History of the Venetian Autonomism by Ezio Toffano – Raixe Venete]
* [ Veneto Region – Legislatures]
* [ Regional Council of Veneto – Elections]
* [ Cattaneo Institute – Archive of Election Data]
* [ Ministry of the Interior – Historical Archive of Elections]

ee also

*Politics of Veneto

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Liga Veneta in the Regional Council]

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