Combining regionalism and nationalism: the Lega in Italy and the Lega dei Ticinesi in Switzerland

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Series Details Volume 16, Number 6, Pages 976-992
Publication Date November 2018
ISSN 1472-4790 (print) | 1740-388X (online)
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There is a general acceptance of the thesis that contemporary Western European regionalist parties develop strategies that aim to defend territorial interests in opposition to statewide authority. It would seem unlikely, therefore, to be able to identify a combination of regionalist claims and statewide nationalism coexisting within the strategy of a single party.

This article contends, however, that the adoption of such a dual frame arises once regionalist parties perceive statewide nationalism as being less of a threat to regional interests than EU-promoted policies and politics. Secondly, it is argued that such a dual frame is likely to develop when specific facilitating conditions emerge.

Focusing on this issue, the article compares two regionalist-rooted parties, the Lega Nord in Italy (recently renamed ‘Lega’) and the Lega dei Ticinesi in Switzerland.

This article is part of a special issue: Addressing the territorial dimensions in party-based populism

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