Democratic Party (Italy)
|Deputy Secretary||Lorenzo Guerini
|Founded||14 October 2007|
|Merger of||Democrats of the Left,
The Daisy, minor parties
|Headquarters||Via S. Andrea delle Fratte 16
|Youth wing||Young Democrats|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance|
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists|
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Politics of Italy
The Democratic Party (Italian: Partito Democratico, PD) is a social-democratic political party in Italy. It is the major centre-left party in Italy, and the largest grouping in the Italian and in the European Parliament.
The PD is the largest party both in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Democrats rule thirteen regions out of twenty and function as a coalition partner in Apulia (led by Nichi Vendola) and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
The party was founded on 14 October 2007 as a merger of various left-wing and centrist parties which had been part of The Union in the 2006 general election. While several parties merged into the PD, its bulk was formed by the Democrats of the Left (heirs of the Italian Communist Party) and Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy. Within the party, an important role is played by Christian leftists, who are direct heirs of the late Christian Democracy's left.
After the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister in November 2011, the PD gave external support to Mario Monti's technocratic government. Since April 2013 Enrico Letta, a Democrat, was Prime Minister, at the head of a government sustained by a grand coalition including The People of Freedom (later replaced by the New Centre-Right), Civic Choice (later divided in two, after the split of the Populars for Italy) and the Union of the Centre. After his election as party leader, in February 2014 Renzi called for "a new phase" and, following his advice, the party's national board voted to put an end the Letta cabinet. Subsequently, Renzi was sworn in as Prime Minister.
Other prominent members of the PD include Pier Luigi Bersani, Walter Veltroni, Massimo D'Alema, Romano Prodi, Dario Franceschini, Debora Serracchiani, Rosy Bindi, Anna Finocchiaro, Vasco Errani, Enrico Rossi and Piero Fassino.
- 1 History
- 2 Ideology
- 3 Factions
- 4 Popular support
- 5 Electoral results
- 6 Leadership
- 7 Symbols
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Olive Tree
In the early 1990s, following Tangentopoli, the end of the so-called First Republic and the transformation of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), a process aimed at uniting left-wing and centre-left forces into a single political entity was started.
In 1995 Romano Prodi, a former Minister of Industry on behalf of the left-wing faction of Christian Democracy (DC), entered politics and founded The Olive Tree (L'Ulivo), a centre-left coalition including the PDS, the Italian People's Party (PPI), the Federation of the Greens (FdV), Italian Renewal (RI), the Italian Socialists (SI) and Democratic Union (UD). The coalition, in alliance with the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), won the 1996 general election and Prodi was sworn in as Prime Minister.
In February 1998 the PDS was transformed into the Democrats of the Left (DS) from the merger of PDS with minor centre-left parties, while in March 2002 the PPI, RI and The Democrats (Prodi's own party, launched in 1999) Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (DL). In the summer of 2003, Romano Prodi suggested that the centre-left forces would participate in the 2004 European Parliament election with a common list. Whereas the Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEUR) and the far-left parties refused the offer, four parties accepted it: the DS, DL, the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) and the European Republicans Movement (MRE). They launched a joint list named "United in the Olive Tree" which ran in the election and garnered 31.1% of the vote. The project was later abandoned in 2005 by the SDI.
In the 2006 general election the list obtained 31.3% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies.
Road to the new party
The project of a "Democratic Party" was often mentioned by Prodi as the natural evolution of The Olive Tree and was envisioned in a 2003 appeal in Il Foglio by Michele Salvati, a former centrist deputy of the DS. The term Partito Democratico was used for the first time in a formal context by the DL and DS members of the Regional Council of Veneto, who chose to form a joint group named The Olive Tree – Venetian Democratic Party (L'Ulivo – Partito Democratico Veneto) in March 2007.
The 2006 election result, anticipated by the 2005 primary election in which over four million voters endorsed Prodi as candidate for Prime Minister, gave a push to the project of a unified centre-left party. Francesco Rutelli and Piero Fassino, party leaders of DL and the DS respectively, scheduled their parties' congresses for April 2007 in order to formally approve the merger.
On 19 April 2007 the DS held their final party congress, during which approximately 75% of party members voted in support of the creation of the PD as soon as possible. The left-wing minority, led by Fabio Mussi, opposed the merger, but obtained just 15% of the support within the party. A third motion, presented by Gavino Angius and supportive of the PD only within the Party of European Socialists (PES), obtained 10% of the vote. During and following the congress, both Mussi and Angius announced their intention not to join the PD and founded a new party called Democratic Left (SD).
On 22 May 2007 the composition of the organising committee of the nascent party was announced. It featured 45 members, mainly politicians from the two major parties involved in the process, but included also external figures such as Marco Follini, Ottaviano Del Turco, Luciana Sbarbati, Renato Soru, Giuliano Amato, Gad Lerner and Tullia Zevi. On 18 June the committee met to decide the rules for the open election of the 2,400 members of the party's constituent assembly. Prodi announced each voter would choose between a number of lists, each of them associated with a candidate for secretary.
The parties which agreed to merge into the PD were eight:
- Democrats of the Left (social-democratic)
- Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (centrist).
- Southern Democratic Party (centrist);
- Sardinia Project (social-democratic);
- European Republicans Movement (social-liberal);
- Democratic Republicans (social-liberal);
- Middle Italy (centrist);
- Reformist Alliance (social-democratic).
All candidates interested in running for the PD leadership had to be associated with one of the founding parties and present at least 2,000 valid signatures by 30 July 2007. A total of ten candidates officially registered their candidacy: Walter Veltroni, Rosy Bindi, Enrico Letta, Furio Colombo, Marco Pannella, Antonio Di Pietro, Mario Adinolfi, Pier Giorgio Gawronski, Jacopo Schettini, Lucio Cangini and Amerigo Rutigliano. Of these, Pannella and Di Pietro were stopped because of their involvement in external parties (the Radicals and Italy of Values, IdV, respectively), whereas Cangini and Rutigliano did not manage to present the necessary 2,000 valid signatures for the 9pm deadline, and Colombo's candidacy was instead made into hiatus in order to give him 48 additional hours to integrate the required documentation; Colombo later decided to retire his candidacy citing his impossibility to fit with all the requirements. All rejected candidates had the chance against the decision in 48 hours' time, with Pannella and Rutigliano being the only two candidates to appeal against it. Both were rejected on 3 August.
On 14 October 2007 Veltroni was elected leader with circa 75% of the national votes in an open primary attended by over three million voters. Veltroni was officially crowned as first PD secretary during the founding constituting assembly held in Milan on 28 October 2007.
On 21 November, the new logo was unveiled; it depicts the party acronym (PD) with colours reminiscent of the Italian tricolour flag (green, white and red) and featuring also an olive branch, the historical symbol of The Olive Tree. In the words of Ermete Realacci, green represents the ecologist and social-liberal cultures, white is for the Catholic solidarity and red for the socialist and social-democratic traditions. The "green-white-red" idea was coined by Schettini during his campaign.
After the premature fall of the Prodi II Cabinet in January 2008, the party decided to run in the next general election alone or at the head of a less diverse coalition. The party proposed to the Radicals and the Socialist Party (PS) to join its lists, but only the Radicals accepted, and formed an alliance with IdV, which was set to join the PD after the election. The party included many notable candidates and new faces in its lists and Walter Veltroni, who tried to present the PD as the party of the renewal in contrast both with Silvio Berlusconi and the previous centre-left government, ran an intense and modern campaign, which led him to visit all provinces of Italy, but that was not enough.
In the 2008 general election the PD–IdV coalition won 37.5% of the vote and was defeated by the centre-right coalition, composed of The People of Freedom (PdL), Lega Nord and the Movement for the Autonomy (46.8%). The PD was able to absorb some votes from the parties of the far left (as also IdV did), but lost voters to the Union of the Centre (UdC), ending up with 33.2% of the vote, 217 deputies and 119 senators. After the election Veltroni, who was gratified by the result, formed a shadow cabinet. IdV, excited by its 4.4% which made it the fourth largest party in Parliament, refused to join both the Democratic groups and the shadow cabinet.
The early months after the election were a difficult time for the PD and Veltroni, whose leadership was weakened by the growing influence of internal factions, because of the popularity of Berlusconi and the dramatic rise of IdV in opinion polls. IdV became a strong competitor of the PD and the relations between the two parties became tense. In the 2008 Abruzzo regional election the PD was forced to support IdV candidate Carlo Costantini. In October 2008 Veltroni, who distanced from Di Pietro many times, declared that "on some issues he [Di Pietro] is distant from the democratic language of the centre-left". On 25 October the PD held its first national rally at Circo Massimo, Rome, to protest against Silvio Berlusconi's policies. According to the organising committee, over 2.5 million people attended the rally.
In February 2009, after a crushing defeat in the Sardinian regional election, Walter Veltroni resigned as party secretary and was replaced by his deputy Dario Franceschini on an interim basis to guide the party toward the selection of a new stable leader. Franceschini was elected by the party's national assembly with 1,047 votes out of 1,258. His only opponent Arturo Parisi won just 92 votes. Franceschini was the first former Christian Democrat to lead the party.
The 2009 European Parliament election was an important test for the PD. Prior to the election, the PD considered offering hospitality to the Socialist Party (PS) and the Greens in its lists, and proposed a similar pact to Democratic Left (SD). However, the Socialists, the Greens and Democratic Left decided instead to contest the election together as a new alliance called Left and Freedom, which failed to achieve the 4% threshold required to return any MEPs, but damaged the PD, which gained 26.1% of the vote, returning 21 MEPs.
Pier Luigi Bersani
On 8 October 2009 the party's electoral commission released the results of the vote among party members. In the local congresses a 56.4% of party members got out and vote. Bersani was by far the most voted candidate with 55.1% of the vote, largely ahead of Franceschini (37.0%) and Marino (7.9%). On 25 October 2009, Bersani was elected new secretary of the party in an open primary that saw the participation of three million people by receiving about 53% of the vote. Franceschini got 34% and Marino 13%. On 7 November, during the first meeting of the new national assembly, Bersani was declared secretary, Rosy Bindi was elected party president (with Marina Sereni and Ivan Scalfarotto vice-presidents), Enrico Letta deputy secretary and Antonio Misiani treasurer.
In reaction to the election of Bersani, perceived by some moderates as an old-style social democrat, Francesco Rutelli, a long-time critic of the party's course, and other centrists and liberals within the PD left in order to form a new centrist party, named Alliance for Italy (ApI). The new outfit was tipped to eventually join forces with the UdC at the centre of the Italian political spectrum. Following March 2009, and especially after Bersani's victory, many deputies, senators, one MEP and several regional/local councillors left the party in order to join UDC, ApI and other minor parties: they included many Rutelliani and most Theo-Dems.
At the big round of regional elections of 2010 the PD lost four regions to the centre-right (Piedmont, Lazio, Campania and Calabria), while maintaining its hold on six (Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Marche, Umbria and Basilicata) plus Apulia, a traditionally conservative region where, due to divisions within the centre-right, Nichi Vendola of SEL was re-elected with the PD's support.
On 16 September 2011 Bersani was invited by Antonio Di Pietro's IdV to take part to its annual late summer convention in Vasto, Abruzzo. Bersani, who had been previously accused by Di Pietro of avoiding him in order to court the centre-right UdC, proposed the formation of a "New Olive Tree" coalition comprising the PD, IdV and SEL. The three party leaders agreed in what was soon dubbed the "pact of Vasto".
Road to 2013
A year after the "pact of Vasto", the relations between the PD and IdV had become tense. IdV and its leader, Antonio Di Pietro, were thus excluded from the coalition talks led by Bersani. To these talks were instead invited SEL, led by Nichi Vendola, and the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), led by Riccardo Nencini. The talks resulted, on 13 October 2012, in the "Pact of Democrats and Progressives" (later known as Italy. Common Good) and produced the rules for the upcoming centre-left primary election, during which the PD–SEL–PSI joint candidate for prime minister in the 2013 general election would be selected.
In the primary the strongest challenge to Bersani was posed by a fellow Democrat, the 37-years old mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi, a liberal modernizer, who had officially launched his leadership bid on 13 September 2012 in Verona, Veneto. Bersani launched his own bid on 14 October in his hometown Bettola, north-western Emilia. Other candidates included Nichi Vendola (SEL), Bruno Tabacci (ApI), and Laura Puppato (PD).
In the meantime, in the 2012 regional election Rosario Crocetta, a Democrat, was elected President with 30.5% of the vote thanks to the support of the UdC, but the coalition failed to secure an outright majority in the Regional Assembly. For the first time in 50 years, a man of the left had the chance to govern Sicily.
On 25 November Bersani came ahead in the first round of the primary election with 44.9% of the vote, Renzi came second with 35.5%, followed by Vendola (15.6%), Puppato (2.6%) and Tabacci (1.4%). Bersani did better in the South, while Renzi prevailed in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche. In the subsequent run-off, on 2 December, Bersani trounced Renzi 60.9% to 39.1%, by winning in each and every single region but Tuscany, where Renzi won 54.9% of the vote. The PD secretary did particularly well in Lazio (67.8%), Campania (69.4%), Apulia (71.4%), Basilicata (71.7%), Calabria (74.4%), Sicily (66.5%), and Sardinia (73.5%).
2013 general election
In the election the PD and its coalition fared much worse than expected and according to pollsters predictions. The PD won just 25.4% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies (–8.0% from 2008) and the centre-left coalition narrowly won the majority in the house over the centre-right coalition (29.5% to 29.3%). Even worse, in the Senate the PD and its allies failed to get an outright majority, due to the rise of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-right's victory in key regions, such as Lombardy, Veneto, Campania, Apulia, Calabria and Sicily (the centre-right was awarded of the majority premium in those regions, leaving the centre-left with just a handful of elects there). As a result, Bersani, who refused any agreement with the PdL and was rejected by the M5S, failed to form a government.
On 17 April, after an agreement with the centre-right parties, Bersani put forward Franco Marini as his party's candidate for President. However, Renzi, several Democratic delegates and SEL announced that they would not support Marini. On 18 April Marini received just 521 votes in the first ballot, short of the 672 needed, as more than 200 centre-left delegates rebelled. On 19 April the PD and SEL selected Romano Prodi to be their candidate in the fourth ballot. Despite his candidacy had received unanimous support among the two parties' delegates, Prodi obtained only 395 votes in the fourth ballot as more than 100 centre-left electors did not vote for him.
After the vote, Prodi pulled out of the race and Bersani announced his resignation from party secretary. Also Bindi, the party's president, announced her resignation as she did not want to carry responsibility for the party's bad management during the past weeks.
On 28 April Enrico Letta, the party's deputy secretary and former Christian Democrat, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Italy at the head of a government based around a grand coalition including the PdL, Civic Choice (SC) and the UdC. Letta was the first Democrat to become Prime Minister.
After Bersani's resignation from party secretary on 20 April 2013, the PD remained without a leader for two weeks.
On 11 May 2013 at the national assembly of the party Guglielmo Epifani was elected secretary with 85.8% of vote. Epifani, secretary-general of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), Italy's largest trade union, from 2002 to 2010, was the first former Socialist to lead the party. Epifani's mission was to lead the party toward a national congress in October.
A few weeks after Epifani's election as secretary, the PD had a success in the 2013 local elections, winning in 69 comuni (including Rome and all the other 14 provincial capitals up for election), while the PdL won 22 and the M5S 1.
On 9 November Epifani announced that the PD would organise the next congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Rome in early 2013, sparking protests among some of the party's Christian democrats, who opposed PES membership.
Epifani was however little more than a secretary pro tempore and, in fact, he frequently repeated that he was not going to run for a full term as secretary in the leadership race that would take place in late 2013, saying that a candidacy by him would be a betrayal of his mandate. Four individuals filed their bid on 11 October: Matteo Renzi, Pippo Civati, Gianni Cuperlo and Gianni Pittella.
As usual, the leadership race started with the vote by party members in local conventions (7–17 November). Renzi came first with 45.3%, followed by Cuperlo (39.4%), Civati (9.4%) and Pittella (5.8%). The first three were thus admitted to the open primary.
On 8 December Renzi, who won in all regions but was stronger in the Centre-North, trounced his opponents with 67.6% of the vote. Cuperlo, whose support was higher in the South, came second with 18.2%, while Civati, whose message did well with northern urban and progressive voters, third with 14.2%. On 15 December Renzi, whose executive included many young people and a majority of women, was proclaimed secretary by the party's national assembly, while Cuperlo was elected president, as proposed by Renzi.
On 20 January 2014 Cuperlo criticized the electoral reform proposed by Renzi in agreement with Berlusconi, but the proposal was widely approved by party's national board. The day after the vote, Cuperlo resigned from president.
On 13 February the national board decided to put an end to Letta's government and form a new one led by Renzi, as he had proposed. On 22 February Renzi was sworn in as Prime Minister on 22 February 2014.
In the 2014 European Parliament election the party obtained 40.8% of the vote and 31 seats. The party's score was virtually 15 percentage points up from five years before and the best result for an Italian party in a nationwide election since the 1958 general election, when Christian Democracy won 42.4% of the vote. Also, the PD was the second-largest national party within the Parliament in its 8th term and the largest one among the Socialists & Democrats.
The PD is a big tent centre-left party, influenced by the ideas of social democracy and the Christian left. The common roots of the founding components of the party reside in the Italian resistance movement, the writing of Italian Constitution and the Historic Compromise, all three events which saw the Italian Communist Party and Christian Democracy (the two major forerunners of the Democrats of the Left and Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy, respectively) cooperate. The United States Democratic Party and American liberalism are also an important source of inspiration. In a 2008 interview to El Pais, Veltroni, who can be considered the main founding father of the party, clearly stated that the PD should be considered a "reformist" party and could not be linked to the traditional values of the left.
The party stresses national and social cohesion, green issues, progressivism, progressive taxation and Europeanism. In this respect the party's precursors strongly supported the need of balancing budgets in order to comply to Maastricht criteria. Under Veltroni and, more recently, Renzi, the party took a strong stance in favour of constitutional reform and of a new electoral law, on the road toward a two-party system.
The PD is a plural party, including several distinct ideological trends:
- Social democracy. The bulk of the party, including many former Democrats of the Left, is social-democratic and emphasizes labour and social issues. There are however traditional social democrats, led by Massimo D'Alema (hence Dalemiani) and Pier Luigi Bersani (hence Bersaniani), and third way types, led by Walter Veltroni (hence Veltroniani, organized in the Democratic Movement). While the former are supportive of democratic socialism (and thus in favour of a close cooperation with Left Ecology Freedom), the latter are strongly influenced by American liberalism and New Labour ideas.
- Christian left. The party includes many Christian-inspired members, most of whom come from the left-wing of the late Christian Democracy (having later joined Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy). "Democratic Catholics" are organized in several factions, including Enrico Letta's 360 Association (also Lettiani, mainly Christian democrats and centrists), Giuseppe Fioroni's Populars, Rosy Bindi's Democrats Really and the Social Christians (who adhere to Christian socialism).
- Social liberalism. It is endorsed mainly by former members of the Italian Republican Party and the Italian Liberal Party, who are organized in the Liberal PD faction.
- Green politics. It is endorsed mainly by former members of the Federation of the Greens and other greens, who have jointly formed the Democratic Ecologists.
It is not an easy task to include the trend represented by Matteo Renzi, whose supporters have been known as "Big Bangers", Now! or Renziani), in any of the categories above. The nature of Renzi's progressivism is a matter of debate and has been linked both to liberalism and populism. According to Maria Teresa Meli of Corriere della Sera, Renzi "pursues a precise model, borrowed from the Labour Party and Bill Clinton's Democratic Party", comprising "a strange mix (for Italy) of liberal policy in the economic sphere and populism. This means that, on one side, he will attack the privileges of trade unions, especially of the CGIL, which defends only the already protected, while, on the other, he will sharply attack the vested powers, bankers, Confindustria and a certain type of capitalism [...]."
The choice of international affiliation was a controversial issue for Democratic Party in its early days. The discussion on which European political party to join was divided between the former Democrats of the Left being generally in favour of the Party of European Socialists (PES), and most former members of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy in favour of the European Democratic Party (EDP), a component of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group.
After the party's formation in 2007, the new party's MEPs continued to sit with the PES and ALDE groups to which their former parties had been elected during the 2004 European Parliament election. Following the conclusion of the 2009 European Parliament election, the party chose to unite for the new term within a single European parliamentary group, formed with the PES, known as the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).
On 15 December 2012 PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani attended in Rome to the initial convention of the Progressive Alliance (PA), a nascent political international for parties dissatisfied with the continued admittance and inclusion of authoritarian movements into the Socialist International (SI). On 22 May 2013 the PD was a founding member of the PA at the international's official inauguration in Leipzig, Germany on the 150th anniversary of the formation of the General German Workers' Association, the predecessor of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
Matteo Renzi, a centrist who was elected party's secretary in the 2013 leadership election, wants the party to join both the SI and the PES. On 20 February 2014 the PD leadership applied for full membership of the PES. On 28 February the PD was welcomed as a full member into the PES.
Although not officially recognised, the PD has several internal factions, most of whom trace the previous allegiances of party members. As the factions form different alliances depending on the issues, some party members have multiple factional allegiances.
2007 leadership election
After the election, which saw the victory of Walter Veltroni, the party's internal composition was as follows:
- Majority led by Walter Veltroni (75.8%)
Three national lists supported the candidacy of Veltroni. The bulk of the former Democrats of the Left (Veltroniani, Dalemiani, Fassiniani), the Rutelliani of Francesco Rutelli (including the Theo-Dem), The Populars of Franco Marini, Liberal PD, the Social Christians and smaller groups (Middle Italy, European Republicans Movement, Reformist Alliance and the Reformists for Europe) formed a joint-list named "Democrats with Veltroni" (43.7%). The Democratic Ecologists of Ermete Realacci, together with Giovanna Melandri and Cesare Damiano, formed "Environment, Innovation and Labour" (8.1%). The Democrats, Laicists, Socialists, Say Left and the Labourites – Liberal Socialists presented a list named "To the Left" (7.7%). Local lists in support of Veltroni got 16.4%.
The Olivists, whose members were staunch supporters of Romano Prodi, divided in two camps. The largest one, including Arturo Parisi, endorsed Rosy Bindi, while a smaller one, including Paolo De Castro, endorsed Enrico Letta, as Paolo De Castro. Bindi benefited also from the support of Agazio Loiero's Southern Democratic Party, while Letta was endorsed by Lorenzo Dellai's Daisy Civic List, Renato Soru's Sardinia Project and Gianni Pittella's social democrats.
2009 leadership election
After the election, which saw the victory of Pier Luigi Bersani, the party's internal composition was as follows:
- Majority led by Pier Luigi Bersani (53.2%)
- Bersaniani and Dalemiani: the social-democratic groups around Bersani and Massimo D'Alema (who wants the PD to be a traditional centre-left party in the European social-democratic tradition); D'Alema organized his faction as Reformists and Democrats, welcoming also some Lettiani and some Populars.
- Lettiani: the centrist group around Enrico Letta, known also as 360 Association; its members are keen supporters of an alliance with the Union of the Centre, similarly to what also D'Alema proposes.
- To the Left: the social-democratic and democratic-socialist internal left led by Livia Turco;
- Democrats Really: the group around Rosy Bindi and composed mainly of the left-wing members of the late Italian People's Party.
- Social Christians: a Christian social-democratic group, that was a founding component of the Democrats of the Left.
- Democracy and Socialism: a social-democratic group of splinters from the Socialist Party led by Gavino Angius.
- Veltroniani: followers of Walter Veltroni, basically social democrats coming from the Democrats of the Left who support the so-called "majoritarian vocation" of the party, the selection of party candidates and leaders through primaries and a two-party system.
- Populars/Fourth Phase: heirs of the Christian left tradition of the Italian People's Party and of the left wing of the late Christian Democracy.
- Rutelliani: centrists and liberals gathered around Francesco Rutelli, known also as Free Democrats; most of them left after Bersani's victory to form the Alliance for Italy, while a minority (Paolo Gentiloni, Ermete Realacci, etc.) chose to stay.
- Simply Democrats: a list promoted by a diverse group of leading Democrats (Debora Serracchiani, Rita Borsellino, Sergio Cofferati, David Sassoli and Francesca Barracciu) who were committed to renewal in party leadership and cleanliness of party elects.
- Liberal PD: the liberal (mostly social-liberal) faction of the PD led by Valerio Zanone; its members have been close to Veltroni and Rutelli.
- Democratic Ecologists: the green faction of the PD led by Ermete Realacci; its members have been close to Veltroni and Rutelli.
- Theo-Dems: a tiny Christian-democratic group representing the right-wing of the party on social issues, albeit being progressive on economic ones; most Theo-Dems, including their leader Paola Binetti, left the PD in 2009–2010 in order to join the UdC or the ApI, while others, led by Luigi Bobba, chose to stay.
- Minority led by Ignazio Marino (12.5%)
- un-affiliated social liberals, social democrats and supporters of a broad alliance including Italy of Values, the Radicals and the parties to the left of the PD; after the election, most of them joined Marino in an association named Change Italy.
- Democrats in Network: a social-democratic faction of former Veltroniani led by Goffredo Bettini.
- Non-aligned factions
- Olivists: followers of Romano Prodi who want the party to be stuck in the tradition of The Olive Tree; the group, which includes both Christian left exponents and social democrats is led by Arturo Parisi. Most Olivists supported Bersani, while Parisi endorsed Franceschini.
In the summer of 2010 Dario Franceschini, leader of Democratic Area (the largest minority faction), and Piero Fassino re-approached with Pier Luigi Bersani and joined the party majority. As a response, Walter Veltroni formed Democratic Movement to defend the "original spirit" of the PD. In doing this he was supported by 75 deputies: 33 Veltroniani, 35 Populars close to Giuseppe Fioroni and 7 former Rutelliani led by Paolo Gentiloni. Some pundits hinted that the Bersani-Franceschini pact was envisioned in order both to marginalise Veltroni and to reduce the influence of Massimo D'Alema, the party bigwig behind Bersani, whose 2009 bid was supported primarily by Dalemiani. Veltroni and D'Alema had been long-time rivals within the centre-left.
As of September the party's majority was composed of those who supported Bersani since the beginning (divided in five main factions: Bersaniani, Dalemiani, Lettiani, Bindiani and the party's left-wing) and Democratic Area of Franceschini and Fassino. Then, there were two minority coalitions: Veltroni's Democratic Movement (Veltroniani, Fioroni's Populars, ex-Rutelliani, Democratic Ecologists and a majority of Liberal PD members) and Change Italy of Ignazio Marino.
According to Corriere della Sera, in November 2011 the party was divided mainly in three ideological camps battling for its soul:
- a socialist left: the Young Turks (mostly supporters of Bersani, as Stefano Fassina and Matteo Orfini);
- a social-democratic centre: it includes Bersani's core supporters (Bersaniani, Dalemiani, Bindiani);
- a "new right": Matteo Renzi's Now!, proposing an overtly liberal political line.
Since November 2011 similar differences surfaced in the party over Monti Cabinet: while the party's right-wing, especially Liberal PD, was enthusiastic in its support, Fassina and other leftists, especially those linked to trade unions, were critical. In February 2012 Fassina published a book in which he described his view as "neo-labourite humanism" and explained it in connection with Catholic social teaching, saying that his "neo-labourism" was designed to attract Catholic voters. Once again, his opposition to economic liberalism was strongly criticized by the party's right-wing as well as by Stefano Ceccanti, a leading Catholic in the party and supporter of Tony Blair's New Labour, who said that a leftist platform à la Fassina would never win back the Catholic vote in places like Veneto.
According to YouTrend, a website, 35% of the Democratic deputies and senators elected in the 2013 general election were Bersaniani, 23% members of Democratic Area (or Democratic Movement), 13% Renziani, 6% Lettiani, 4.5% Dalemiani, 4.5% Young Turks, 2% Bindiani and 1.5% Civatiani.
As the party performed below expectations, more Democrats started to look at Renzi, who had been defeated by Bersani in the 2012 primary election to select the centre-left's candidate for Prime Minister. In early September, two leading centrists, Franceschini and Fioroni, leaders of Democratic Area and The Populars, endorsed Renzi. Also two former leaders of the Democrats of the Left, Veltroni and Fassino, decided to support Renzi, while a third, D'Alema, endorsed Gianni Cuperlo.
2013 leadership election
After the election, which saw the victory of Matteo Renzi, the party's internal composition was as follows:
- Majority led by Matteo Renzi (67.6%)
- Renziani, Democratic Area, Veltroniani, The Populars, Liberal PD, most Lettiani, most Olivists, Democratic Ecologists
- Minority led by Gianni Cuperlo (18.2%)
- Minority led by Pippo Civati (14.2%)
The PD, as previously the Italian Communist Party (PCI), has its strongholds in Central Italy and big cities. The party runs 13 regions out of 20 and the cities of Rome, Turin, Bologna, Florence and Bari; it also takes part to the government of the regions of Apulia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, as well as the cities of Milan and Genoa.
In the 2008 and 2013 general elections the PD obtained its best results in Tuscany (46.8% and 37.5%), Emilia-Romagna (45.7% and 37.0%), Umbria (44.4% and 32.1%), Marche (41.4% and 27.7%), Liguria (37.6% and 27.7%) and Lazio (36.8% and 25.7%). Democrats are generally stronger in the North than the South, with the sole exception of Basilicata (38.6% in 2008 and 25.7% in 2013), where, differently from other parts of the country, the party drew most of its personnel from Christian Democracy (DC).
The 2014 European Parliament election gave a thumping 40.8% of the vote to the party, which was the first Italian party to get more than 40% of the vote in a nationwide election since DC won 42.4% of the vote in the 1958 general election. In 2014, as usual, the PD did better in Tuscany (56.6%), Emilia-Romagna (52.5%) and Umbria (49.2%), but made significant gains in Lombardy (40.3%, +19.0% from 2009), Veneto (37.5%, +17.2%) and the South.
The electoral results of the PD in the 10 most populated regions of Italy are shown in the table below.
|2008 general||2009 European||2010 regional||2013 general||2014 European|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
|Senate of the Republic|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
- Secretary: Walter Veltroni (2007–2009), Dario Franceschini (2009), Pier Luigi Bersani (2009–2013), Guglielmo Epifani (2013), Matteo Renzi (2013–present)
- Deputy Secretary: Dario Franceschini (2007–2009), Enrico Letta (2009–2013), Lorenzo Guerini (2014–present), Debora Serracchiani (2014–present)
- Coordinator of the Secretariat: Goffredo Bettini (2007–2009), Maurizio Migliavacca (2009–2013), Lorenzo Guerini (2013–present)
- Organizational Secretary: Giuseppe Fioroni (2007–2009), Maurizio Migliavacca (2009), Nico Stumpo (2009–2013), Davide Zoggia (2013–2013), Luca Lotti (2013–present)
- Treasurer: Mauro Agostini (2007–2009), Antonio Misiani (2009–2013), Francesco Bonifazi (2013–present)
- Spokesperson: Andrea Orlando (2008–2013), Lorenzo Guerini (2013–present)
- President: Romano Prodi (2007–2008), Anna Finocchiaro (acting, 2008–2009), Rosy Bindi (2009–2013), Gianni Cuperlo (2013–2014), Matteo Orfini (2014–present)
- Party Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Antonello Soro (2007–2009), Dario Franceschini (2009–2013), Roberto Speranza (2013–present)
- Party Leader in the Senate: Anna Finocchiaro (2007–2013), Luigi Zanda (2013–present)
- Party Leader in the European Parliament: David Sassoli (2009–present)
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- Combined result of the PD (15.8%) and Agazio Loiero's personal list (7.0%).
- Although she was never elected party president, Finocchiaro presided over all the party's meetings since Prodi's resignation, including the national assembly of 20 June 2008 (see video), the national assembly of 21 February 2009 (see video) and the national congress of 11 October 2009 (see video).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Partito Democratico.|
- Manifesto of Values of the Democratic Party
- Parliamentary Group in the Chamber of Deputies
- Parliamentary Group in the Senate