Democratic Party of the Left
|Democratic Party of the Left|
|Secretary||Achille Occhetto (1991–1994), Massimo D'Alema (1994–1998)|
|Founded||3 February 1991|
|Dissolved||13 February 1998|
|Preceded by||Italian Communist Party|
|Succeeded by||Democrats of the Left|
|Membership||max: 989,708 (1991)
min: 613,412 (1998)
|Political position||Left-wing to Centre-left|
|National affiliation||Alliance of Progressives (1994)
The Olive Tree (1995–1998)
|International affiliation||Socialist International|
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists (1993–1998)|
|European Parliament group||European United Left (1991–1993)
Party of European Socialists (1993–1998)
|Politics of Italy
The PDS was founded in 1991 as the post-communist evolution of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in a democratic-socialist direction. Its first leader was Achille Occhetto, the final secretary of the PCI.
The logo of the PDS consisted mainly of an oak tree that retained, in a roundel at the tree's roots, the previous symbol of the PCI: this was done both to indicate the party's roots, but did not prevent hardliners leaving the party and launching the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC). Thus the logo was also adopted in order to prevent the PRC from making usage of the symbol immediately after the split between the two parties. In 1993 the party was admitted into the Socialist International and Party of European Socialists and in the same year the party's MEPs moved from the European United Left (GUE) to the Socialist Group.
In the 1994 general election Occhetto was the leader of the Alliance of Progressives but he lost to Silvio Berlusconi. In the election's aftermath, Massimo D'Alema was elected new party secretary. In the 1996 general election, after the collapse of Berlusconi's coalition, the PDS was part of the winning coalition, The Olive Tree, led by Romano Prodi. In the Prodi I Cabinet, a leading member of the PDS, Giorgio Napolitano, became Minister of the Interior.
In 1997 D'Alema called for the party to become more of a European social-democratic party, and in 1998 was transformed in Democrats of the Left, after the merger with Labour Federation, Social Christians, Republican Left, Unitarian Communists, Reformists for Europe and Democratic Federation. On this occasion, the party decided to replace the hammer and sickle of its emblem with the red rose of European social democracy.
- Secretary: Achille Occhetto (1991–1994), Massimo D'Alema (1994–1998)
- President: Stefano Rodotà (1991–1992), Giglia Tedesco Tatò (1993–1998)
- Party Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Massimo D'Alema (1992–1994), Luigi Berlinguer (1994–1996), Fabio Mussi (1996–1998)
- Party Leader in the Senate: Giuseppe Chiarante (1992–1994), Cesare Salvi (1994–1998)
- Party Leader in the European Parliament: Renzo Imbeni (1994–1998)
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