Abstract and Keywords
Populism has been a persistent feature of Italian politics. From the earliest days of the First Republic, when the “Common Man” front achieved prominence, to the apex of Berlusconi’s success and the recent growth of the Five Star Movement, some parties have always sought to appeal directly to the people. The Northern League represents a peculiar case of Italian populism. Born in the late 1980s, the party’s electoral breakthrough came in the early 1990s as the old political system collapsed. Starting as a regionalist movement, the League’s populism has broadened its appeal. The importance of territorial identity has undergone tactical shifts, while the emphasis on opposition to the political system, to immigration and to globalization has endured. Despite governing several regions and participating in national governments, the League has maintained its populism and has gradually undergone significant radicalization, positioning itself closer to the extreme right of the political spectrum.
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