Roberto Maroni, ex Lega leader, dies in Italy at 67

Senior leghista politician had been battling illness.

Roberto Maroni, former Italian interior minister and leader of the federalist Lega Nord – the precursor to the Lega – has died aged 67, according to news reports in Italy.

Maroni, who served as Italy’s interior minister from 1994 to 1995 and from 2008 to 2011, had reportedly been suffering from a serious illness.

Italian premier Giorgia Meloni expressed her condolences on behalf of the government on the passing of Maroni who she described as “a friend, an intelligent and capable politician who served the institutions with common sense and practicality.”

Maroni also served as labour minister from 2001 to 2006, as deputy prime minister to Silvio Berlusconi from 1994 to 1995, and as governor of the Lombardy region around Milan from 2013 to 2018.

Maroni succeeded the Lega Nord founder Umberto Bossi as president of the northern-based right-wing party from July 2012 to 2013 before handing over to Matteo Salvini under whose leadership the party dropped the “Nord” to become the Lega.

After the recent poor election result obtained by the Lega – a key member of Italy’s far-right led government – Maroni called for new leadership of the party, adding that he had a person in mind but would refrain from “naming names”.