Lega Nord (North League, LN, often translated as Northern League by English language media), whose complete name is Lega Nord per l'Indipendenza della Padania (North League for the Independence of Padania), is a federalist and regionalist political party in Italy founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of Northern and Central Italy, most of which had arisen and expanded their share of the electorate over the 1980s.
In popular usage the party is generally referred to simply as Lega and is frequently nicknamed il Carroccio in newspapers, after a four-wheeled war altar drawn by oxen, used by the medieval republics of Northern Italy which formed the Lombard League in opposition to the imperialist design of Frederick I Barbarossa.
Its political program advocates the transformation of Italy into a federal state, fiscal federalism and greater regional autonomy, especially for the Northern regions. At times it has advocated secession of the North, which it calls Padania. Prior to the party's adoption of the term, Padania was infrequently used to name the Padan-Venetian Plain and was promoted since 1963 by sport journalist Gianni Brera as a modern name for Cisalpine Gaul.
Lega Nord is by far the largest party in Veneto, the second-largest in Lombardy, the third-largest in Piedmont, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria. The long-standing leader of the party is Umberto Bossi, who is Minister for Federal Reform in Berlusconi IV Cabinet. Leading members include Luca Zaia, President of Veneto, Roberto Cota, President of Piedmont, Roberto Maroni, Minister of the Interior, Roberto Calderoli, Minister of Legislative Simplification, Roberto Castelli, Francesco Speroni, Marco Reguzzoni, Giancarlo Giorgetti, Gian Paolo Gobbo, Flavio Tosi and Federico Bricolo.
The founding parties of Lega Nord were Lega Lombarda, Liga Veneta, Piemont Autonomista, Uniun Ligure, Lega Emiliano-Romagnola, Alleanza Toscana, plus the newly formed regional parties of the other Northern regions.