Democratic Party of the Left

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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
Newspaper L'Unità
Membership max: 989,708 (1991)
min: 613,412 (1998)[1]
Ideology Post-communism
Democratic socialism
Social democracy
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
Political parties

The Democratic Party of the Left (Italian: Partito Democratico della Sinistra, PDS) was a democratic socialist and social-democratic[2][3][4][5][6][7] political party in Italy.


The PDS was founded in 1991 as the post-communist[8] 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[9] and in the same year the party's MEPs moved from the European United Left (GUE) to the Socialist Group.[10]

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.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Carol Diane St Louis (2011). Negotiating Change: Approaches to and the Distributional Implications of Social Welfare and Economic Reform. Stanford University. p. 119. STANFORD:RW793BX2256. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Donald F. Busky (2002). Communism in History and Theory: The European Experience. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-275-97734-4. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Marco Giugni (2004). Social Protest and Policy Change: Ecology, Antinuclear, and Peace Movements in Comparative Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7425-1827-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Richard J. Samuels (19 May 2005). Machiavelli's Children: Leaders And Their Legacies In Italy And Japan. Cornell University Press. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-8014-8982-2. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Svante Ersson; Jan-Erik Lane (28 December 1998). Politics and Society in Western Europe. SAGE. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7619-5862-8. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Simon Parker (22 January 1996). The New Italian Republic: New. Taylor & Francis. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-415-12162-0. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Alan Renwick (4 February 2010). The Politics of Electoral Reform: Changing the Rules of Democracy. Cambridge University Press. p. 121–. ISBN 978-1-139-48677-4. 
  9. ^ Dimitri Almeida (23 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  10. ^ William Heller; Carol Mershon (23 June 2009). Political Parties and Legislative Party Switching. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-230-62255-5.