Berlusconi II Cabinet

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Second Berlusconi cabinet
Flag of Italy.svg
57th Cabinet of Italy
Berlusconi incaricato premier 2008 - 2.jpg
Date formed 11 June 2001
Date dissolved 23 April 2005
(1,412 days)
People and organizations
Head of government Silvio Berlusconi
Head of state Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
Total number of ministers 23
Member party Forza Italia (FI)
National Alliance (AN)
Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC)
Lega Nord
History
Election(s) 2001 election
Outgoing election 2006 election
Legislature term(s) 31 May 2001 - 28 April 2006 (XIV)
Incoming formation Berlusconi II Cabinet formation, 2001
Outgoing formation Berlusconi II Cabinet formation, 2005
Previous Amato II Cabinet
Successor Berlusconi III Cabinet

The Berlusconi II Cabinet was the 57th cabinet of the Italian Republic, and the first cabinet of the XIV Legislature. It took office following the 2001 elections, and held office from 11 June 2001 until 23 April 2005, a total of 1,412 days, or 3 years, 10 months and 12 days. It held office for the longest period in the history of the Republic, and for the second longest period in the history of unified Italy since 1861 (outlasted only by the Mussolini government). During its long tenure, its composition changed significantly. Following the poor performance of the centrist parties in the Italian regional elections of 2005, most of the ministers of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats and the New PSI resigned from the government, which was succeeded by the Berlusconi III Cabinet.

Formation[edit]

In 2001 Berlusconi again ran as leader of the centre-right coalition House of Freedoms (Italian: La Casa delle Libertà), which included the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, the Lega Nord, the National Alliance and other parties. Berlusconi's success in the May 2001 general election led to him becoming Prime Minister once more, with the coalition receiving 45.4% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies and 42.5% for the Senate.

On the television interviews programme Porta a Porta, during the last days of the electoral campaign, Berlusconi created a powerful impression on the public by undertaking to sign a so-called Contratto con gli Italiani (English: Contract with the Italians), an idea copied outright by his advisor Luigi Crespi from the Newt Gingrich's Contract with America introduced six weeks before the 1994 US Congressional election,[1] which was widely considered to be a creative masterstroke in his 2001 campaign bid for prime ministership. In this solemn agreement, Berlusconi claimed his commitment on improving several aspects of the Italian economy and life. Firstly, he undertook to simplify the complex tax system by introducing just two tax rates (33% for those earning over 100,000 euros, and 23% for anyone earning less than that figure: anyone earning less than 11,000 euros a year would not be taxed); secondly, he promised to halve the unemployment rate; thirdly, he undertook to finance and develop a massive new public works programme. Fourthly, he promised to raise the minimum monthly pension rate to 516 euros; and fifthly, he would suppress the crime wave by introducing police officers to patrol all local zones and areas in Italy's major cities.[2] Berlusconi undertook to refrain from putting himself up for re-election in 2006 if he failed to honour at least four of these five promises.

The government obtained the confidence of the senate on 20 June 2001 with 175 votes in favour, 133 against and 5 abstentions,[3][4] and the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies on 21 June 2001 with 351 votes in favour, 261 against and 1 abstention.[5]

Opposition parties claim Berlusconi was not able to achieve the goals he promised in his Contratto con gli Italiani. Some of his partners in government, especially the National Alliance and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats have admitted the Government fell short of the promises made in the agreement, attributing the failure to an unforeseeable downturn in global economic conditions. Berlusconi himself has consistently asserted that he achieved all the goals of the agreement, and said his Government provided un miracolo continuo (a continuous miracle) that made all 'earlier governments pale' (by comparison). He attributed the widespread failure to recognize these achievements to a campaign of mystification and vilification in the printed media, asserting that 85% of newspapers were opposed to him.[6] Luca Ricolfi, an independent analyst, held that Berlusconi had managed to maintain only one promise out of five, the one concerning minimum pension levels. The other four promises were not, in Luca Ricolfi’s view, honoured. In particular, the undertakings on the tax simplification and the reduction of crime.[7]

Fall[edit]

House of Freedoms did not do as well in the 2003 local elections as it did in the 2001 national elections. In common with many other European governing groups, in the 2004 elections of the European Parliament, gaining 43.37% support. Forza Italia's support was also reduced from 29.5% to 21.0% (in the 1999 European elections Forza Italia had 25.2%). As an outcome of these results the other coalition parties, whose electoral results were more satisfactory, asked Berlusconi and Forza Italia for greater influence in the government's political line.

In the 2005 regional elections (3 April/4 April 2005), the centre-left gubernatorial candidates won in 12 out of 14 regions where control of local governments and governorships was at stake. Berlusconi's coalition kept only two of the regional bodies (Lombardy and Veneto) up for re-election. Three parties, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, National Alliance and New Italian Socialist Party, threatened to withdraw from the Berlusconi government. The Italian Premier, after some hesitation, then presented to the President of the Republic a request for the dissolution of his government on 20 April 2005.

Composition[edit]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Prime Minister   Silvio Berlusconi 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Foreign Affairs   Renato Ruggiero 11 June 2001 6 January 2002 Independent
  Silvio Berlusconi (ad interim) 6 January 2002 14 November 2002 Forza Italia
  Franco Frattini 14 November 2002 18 November 2004 Forza Italia
  Gianfranco Fini 18 November 2004 23 April 2005 National Alliance
Minister of the Interior   Claudio Scajola 11 June 2001 3 July 2002 Forza Italia
  Giuseppe Pisanu 3 July 2002 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Economy and Finances   Giulio Tremonti 11 June 2001 3 July 2004 Forza Italia
  Domenico Siniscalco 16 July 2004 23 April 2005 Independent
Minister of Defense   Antonio Martino 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Justice   Roberto Castelli 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Lega Nord
Minister of Productive Activities   Antonio Marzano 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies   Gianni Alemanno 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 National Alliance
Minister of Education, University and Research   Letizia Moratti 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Labour and Social Affairs   Roberto Maroni 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Lega Nord
Minister for Health   Girolamo Sirchia 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Independent
Minister of Infrastructures and Transports   Pietro Lunardi 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea   Altero Matteoli 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 National Alliance
Minister of Cultural Heritage   Giuliano Urbani 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Communications   Maurizio Gasparri 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 National Alliance

Ministers without portfolio[edit]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Minister European Affairs   Rocco Buttiglione 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 UDC
Minister of Reforms and Devolutions   Umberto Bossi 11 June 2001 16 July 2004 Lega Nord
  Roberto Calderoli 16 July 2004 23 April 2005 Lega Nord
Minister of Innovations   Lucio Stanca 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister for Regional Affairs   Enrico La Loggia 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister for Platform Accomplishment   Claudio Scajola 28 August 2003 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Equal Opportunities   Stefania Prestigiacomo 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 Forza Italia
Minister of Pubblic Administration   Franco Frattini 11 June 2001 14 November 2002 Forza Italia
  Luigi Mazzella 14 November 2002 3 December 2004 Independent
  Mario Baccini 3 December 2004 23 April 2005 UDC
Minister of Italians in the World   Mirko Tremaglia 11 June 2001 23 April 2005 National Alliance

Further reading[edit]

  • Donovan, Mark (2004). The Governance of the Centre-Right Coalition. Italy Between Europeanization and Domestic Politics. Italian Politics 19 (Berghahn). pp. 80–98. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gingrich, Newt; Armey, Dick (1994). Contract With America: The Bold Plan. 
  2. ^ Ricolfi, Luca (2005). Dossier Italia: a che punto è il 'contratto con gli italiani. Il mulino. 
  3. ^ Senato della Repubblica - XIV Legislatura - Seduta n. 6
  4. ^ "Berlusconi wins senate confidence". BBC. 20 June 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Camera dei Deputati - XIV Legislatura - Seduta n. 6
  6. ^ "Berlusconi: 'Successi straordinari Contro di me l'85% dei giornali'". Repubblica. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Ricolfi, Luca (2006). Tempo scaduto. Il "Contratto con gli italiani" alla prova dei fatti. Il Mulino. ISBN 8815108882.