Federalists and Liberal Democrats
The Federalists and Liberal Democrats (Federalisti e Liberaldemocratici, FLD) was a federalist and liberal political party in Italy, which was active mainly as a parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies from December 1994 to May 1996.
The FLD was founded on 16 December 1994 as a parliamentary group within the Chamber of Deputies by twelve dissident members of Lega Nord, four members of Forza Italia, two members of the Liberal Democratic Foundation, Raffaele Costa (leader of the Union of the Centre and Minister of Health) and Pietro Cerullo (representative of the Southern Action League). Indeed twenty members were needed to form a group in the Chamber. The group acted as a close ally of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.
Following the decision of Umberto Bossi, leader of Lega Nord, to bring down Berlusconi I Cabinet on 22 December, many Leghisti who wanted to continue that alliance joined the FLD. These included Franco Rocchetta (founder and long-standing leader of Liga Veneta), Marilena Marin (secretary of Liga Veneta from 1984 to 1994), Lucio Malan, Furio Gubetti and Gualberto Niccolini (president of Lega Nord Toscana from 1988). At the point of its maximum strength, after the merger of the Federalist Italian League (LIF) on 20 December, another splinter group of Lega Nord, the FLD had more than 50 MPs.
In the 1996 general election, when Lega Nord, despite the several splits had its best result ever (10.1% nationally), none of the ex-Leghisti of the FLD but Luigi Negri, who was a former member of Lega Nord and the LIF, was re-elected and its members were merged into Forza Italia. In the 2001 general election, both Lucio Malan and Furio Gubetti were elected to the Senate and since then Malan has been one of the leaders of Forza Italia/The People of Freedom/Forza Italia in Piedmont.