The People of Freedom
|The People of Freedom|
|Il Popolo della Libertà|
Ignazio La Russa
|Founded||18 November 2007
27 March 2009
|Dissolved||16 November 2013|
|Merger of||Forza Italia
|Succeeded by||Forza Italia (2013)|
|Headquarters||Via dell'Umiltà 36
|Youth wing||Giovane Italia|
|National affiliation||with Lega Nord
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
|Politics of Italy
The PdL, launched by Silvio Berlusconi on 18 November 2007, was initially a federation of political parties, notably including Forza Italia and National Alliance, which participated as a joint election list in the 2008 general election. The federation was later transformed into a party during a party congress on 27–29 March 2009.
The party's leading members included Angelino Alfano (national secretary), Renato Schifani, Renato Brunetta, Roberto Formigoni, Maurizio Sacconi, Maurizio Gasparri, Mariastella Gelmini, Antonio Martino, Giancarlo Galan, Maurizio Lupi, Gaetano Quagliariello, Daniela Santanchè, Sandro Bondi and Raffaele Fitto.
The PdL formed Italy's government from 2008 to 2011 in coalition with Lega Nord. After having supported Mario Monti's technocatic government in 2011–2012, the party was part of Enrico Letta's government of grand coalition with the Democratic Party, Civic Choice and the Union of the Centre. Alfano functioned as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.
In June 2013 Berlusconi announced Forza Italia's revival and the PdL's transformation into a centre-right coalition. On 16 November 2013 the PdL's national council voted to dissolve the party and start a new Forza Italia; the assembly was deserted by a group of dissidents, led by Alfano, who had launched the alternative New Centre-Right party the day before.
- 1 History
- 2 Ideology and factions
- 3 Popular support
- 4 Electoral results
- 5 Symbols
- 6 Leadership
- 7 Literature
- 8 References
In the run-up to the 2006 general election there was talk among the component parties of the House of Freedoms coalition regarding a possible merger into a "united party of moderates and reformers". Forza Italia (FI), National Alliance (AN) and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC) all seemed interested in the project. Soon after the election, however, UDC leader Pier Ferdinando Casini, who had been a reluctant coalition partner, started to distance from its historical allies. Another party of the coalition, Lega Nord (LN), showed no interest in the idea, because of its character as a regional party.
On 2 December 2006, during a big rally of the centre-right in Rome against Romano Prodi's government, Silvio Berlusconi proposed the foundation of a "freedom party", stressing that centre-right voters were all part of a single "people of freedom". On 21 August 2007 Michela Brambilla, president of the Circles of Freedom (a grassroot group close to Berlusconi), registered the name and the symbol of the "Freedom Party" (Partito della Libertà) on Berlusconi's behalf, but none of Berlusconi's allies seemed interested in joining such a party and some leading FI dignitaries looked disappointed.
The "running board revolution"
On 18 November 2007, Berlusconi claimed that his supporters had collected over 7 million signatures on an appeal demanding the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to call a fresh general election. Shortly afterwards, from the running board of a car in a crowded Piazza San Babila in Milan, he announced that FI would soon merge or transform into a new "party of the Italian people". The new course was thus called the "running board revolution" (rivoluzione del predellino) and this expression soon became very popular both among Berlusconi's supporters and his adversaries.
At the beginning, the fate of FI remained unclear. Later, it was explained that the new party's core would consist of FI, the Circles of Freedom and other grassroots groups, and that some minor parties of the House of Freedoms would join too. AN leader Gianfranco Fini made very critical statements in the days after Berlusconi's announcement, declaring the end of his support for Berlusconi as candidate for Prime Minister and that his party would not join the new party. Also UDC leader Casini criticized the idea from the start and seemed interested in an alternative coalition with Fini.
Foundation and early years
On 24 January 2008, the Prodi II Cabinet fell, paving the way for a new general election. On the day after Berlusconi hinted that FI would probably contest its last election, and postponed the foundation of the new party until after the election. In an atmosphere of reconciliation with Fini, Berlusconi also stated that the new party could involve the participation of other parties. On 8 February, Berlusconi and Fini agreed to form a joint list under the banner of The People of Freedom (PdL), in alliance with LN.
Several parties and groups chose to join the PdL: FI, AN, the Circles of Freedom, the Circles of Good Government, the Liberal Populars (a splinter group from the UDC), Christian Democracy for the Autonomies, the Pensioners' Party, Liberal Reformers, the Italian Republican Party, the New Italian Socialist Party, the Liberal Democrats, Decide!, Italians in the World, Social Action and the Reformist Socialists.
In the 2008 general election, the PdL won 37.4% of the vote, getting elected 276 deputies and 146 senators and becoming the Italian largest party. The PdL was also the first party since Christian Democracy in the 1979 general election to get more than 35% of the popular vote.
On 27–29 March 2009, the new party held its first congress in Rome and was officially founded. Berlusconi was elected president, while Sandro Bondi, Ignazio La Russa and Denis Verdini were appointed national coordinators, Maurizio Lupi organizational secretary and Daniele Capezzone spokesperson.
In the big round of regional elections of 2010, the PdL retained Lombardy with Roberto Formigoni (in coalition with LN), gained Lazio with Renata Polverini (a former leader of the General Labour Union), Campania with Stefano Caldoro (a leading Socialist) and Calabria with Giuseppe Scopelliti (a former AN member). The PdL was also instrumental in the centre-right victories in Veneto and Piedmont, where two Presidents of LN, Luca Zaia and Roberto Cota respectively, were elected.
Berlusconi vs. Fini
Between 2009 and 2010 Gianfranco Fini, former leader of the conservative AN and President of the Chamber of Deputies, became a vocal critic of the leadership of Berlusconi. Fini departed from party's majority line on stem cell research, end of life issues, advance health care directive and immigration, but, most of all, he was a proponent of a more structured party organisation. His criticism was aimed at the leadership style of Berlusconi, who tended to rely on his personal charisma to lead the party from the centre and supported a lighter form of party, which in his mind was to be a movement-party active only at election times.
Although some Finiani, such as Italo Bocchino, Carmelo Briguglio and Fabio Granata, shared Fini's views on moral issues and immigration, many others, including Andrea Ronchi and Adolfo Urso, took a very different approach on these issues. In fact most Finiani were Southern conservatives who opposed Berlusconi's firm alliance with LN, federal reform and Giulio Tremonti's economic policy. Fini was able to make inroads among the liberal and centrist ranks of the former FI, but he lost the support of most leading members of the former AN, notably including Ignazio La Russa, Maurizio Gasparri and Altero Matteoli, who became close allies of Berlusconi. Others, including Gianni Alemanno and Alfredo Mantovano, found common ground with the party's Christian democrats.
On 15 April 2010 Bocchino launched an association named Generation Italy in order to better represent Fini's views within the party. Five days later 52 MPs (39 deputies and 13 senators) signed a document in support of Fini and his theses, while other 74 MPs former members of AN, including La Russa, Gasparri, Matteoli and Giorgia Meloni, plus Alemanno, mayor of Rome, signed an alternative document in which they reasserted their loyalty to the party and Berlusconi. On 22 April 2010 the national council of the PdL convened in Rome for the first time in a year. The conflict between Fini and Berlusconi was covered live on television. At the end of the day a resolution proposed by Berlusconi's loyalists was put before the assembly and approved almost unanimously.
Following then, clashes between Fini and Berlusconi became even more frequent and reached their height in late July, when Fini questioned the morality of some party bigwigs under investigation. On 29 July 2010 the executive committee released a document (voted by 33 members out of 37) in which Fini was described as "incompatible" with the political line of the PdL and unable to perform his job of President of the Chamber of Deputies in a neutral way. Berlusconi asked Fini to step down and the executive proposed the suspension from party membership of Bocchino, Briguglio and Granata, who had harshly criticized Berlusconi and accused some party members of criminal offences. As response, Fini and his followers formed their own groups in both chambers under the name of Future and Freedom (FLI).
It was soon clear that FLI would leave the PdL and become an independent party. On 7 November, during a convention in Bastia Umbra, Fini asked Berlusconi to step down as Prime Minister and proposed a new government including the Union of the Centre (UdC). A few days later, the four FLI members in the government resigned. On 14 December FLI voted against Berlusconi in a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies, a vote won by Berlusconi by 314 to 311.
Re-organisation and discontents
In May 2011 the party suffered a big blow in local elections. Particularly painful was the loss of Milan, Berlusconi's hometown and party stronghold, where the outgoing PdL mayor Letizia Moratti was defeated by Giuliano Pisapia, a left-wing independent close to Nichi Vendola's Left Ecology Freedom party.
In response to this and to crescent fibrillation within party ranks (especially among Scajoliani and ex-AN members), Angelino Alfano, then minister of Justice, was chosen as national secretary in charge of re-organising and renewing the party. The appointment of 40-year old Alfano, a former Christian Democrat who had later been leader of FI in Sicily, was unanimously approved by the party executive. However, economy minister Giulio Tremonti expressed his concerns that the nominee would "make us lose votes in the North". On 1 July the national council modified the party's constitution and Alfano was elected secretary with little opposition.
Alfano led the party through a huge membership drive and on 1 November, announced that more than one million individuals had joined the party.
The new secretary also drove the party in a Christian-democratic direction. The factions which benefited most from the effort were those of Roberto Formigoni (Network Italy), Ignazio La Russa (Protagonist Italy) and Franco Frattini (Liberamente). The Christian-democratization of the party and the perceived marginalization of liberals and social democrats led some to leave the party. One of these, Carlo Vizzini, declared: "It seems to me that the PdL is set to become the Italian section of the European People's Party [which already was]. I come from another tradition: I have been secretary of the PSDI and I was one of the founders of the Party of European Socialists. When I joined Forza Italia there were Liberals, Socialists, Radicals. Now everything has changed."
In the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis, on 14 October, following calls by Claudio Scajola and Giuseppe Pisanu for a new government, two deputies close to Scajola, Giustina Destro and Fabio Gava, voted against Berlusconi during a vote of confidence and left the party altogether. On 2 November, Destro and Gava, along with Roberto Antonione, Giorgio Stracquadanio, Isabella Bertolini and Giancarlo Pittelli (who had left the party along with Santo Versace in September), promoted an open letter in which they asked Berlusconi to step down. Contextually, Antonione announced that he was leaving the party. In the following days three more deputies, Alessio Bonciani, Ida D'Ippolito and Gabriella Carlucci, left to join the UdC. In three months, the PdL had lost 15 deputies and 4 senators, including the 7 deputies and 3 senators who launched Force of the South under Gianfranco Micciché.
On 7 November 2011 Lega Nord's then-leader Umberto Bossi proposed Angelino Alfano as Berlusconi's successor. On 8 November, during a key vote on a financial statement in the Chamber, three more deputies elected with the PdL (Franco Stradella, Gennaro Malgieri and Francesco Stagno d'Alcontres of Great South) were absent or abstained from the vote. The statement was passed thanks to the abstention of opposition parties, but Berlusconi got just 308 votes, 8 short of an absolute majority. Malgieri stated that he was in the restroom and that he intended to vote yes, while another centre-right deputy, Francesco Nucara of the Italian Republican Party, was in hospital and another one, Alfonso Papa, in jail. Subsequently, Berlusconi announced that he intended to step down after the passage of the budget bill.
Days of big turmoil followed. Not only the party was highly divided, but its numerous factions and groups were divided too. As the appointment of Mario Monti, an independent economist and former European Commissioner, looked very likely, some in the party wanted to support the new possible government (and some even wanted to join it), while others were resolutely against and preferred an early election instead. Alfano, in his capacity of secretary, had to mediate.
Among the party's Christian democrats, Roberto Formigoni, Maurizio Lupi and Raffaele Fitto (Network Italy), Claudio Scajola (Christopher Columbus Foundation), and Giuseppe Pisanu (hence Pisaniani) supported Monti, while Gianfranco Rotondi (Christian Democracy for the Autonomies) and Carlo Giovanardi (Liberal Populars) did not. Within Liberamente and among the party's Socialists, Franco Frattini (who threatened to leave the party) and Fabrizio Cicchitto were in favour, while Mariastella Gelmini, Paolo Romani, Maurizio Sacconi, Renato Brunetta and, covertly, Giulio Tremonti were against. The vast majority of ex-AN members (Ignazio La Russa, Maurizio Gasparri, Altero Matteoli, Giorgia Meloni, etc.) was against, while a minority (mainly Gianni Alemanno) was in favour.
On 12 November Berlusconi finally tendered his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano. The executive of the PdL decided to support a government led by Monti under some conditions, the first being that it should not include politicians but only technocrats. The Monti Cabinet took office on 16 November. In the subsequent votes of confidence in the two houses of Parliament, the PdL voted largely for Monti. However, some party members, including Antonio Martino, Gianfranco Rotondi and Alessandra Mussolini, deserted the party. Subsequently, LN broke its ties with the PdL at the national level.
2013 general election
After long deliberation, on 24 October 2012, Berlusconi finally announced that he would not run again for Prime Minister in the 2013 general election. In a written press release, the PdL leader also hinted that the party would select his successor through an open primary on 16 December.
Berlusconi, who praised Monti, seemed to aim at a new centre-right led by Monti and a PdL led by Alfano. On 25 November eight candidates filed the required number of signature in support of their bid: Angelino Alfano, Giorgia Meloni, Giancarlo Galan (who renounced right after), Guido Crosetto, Daniela Santanchè, Michaela Biancofiore, Giampiero Samorì and Alessandro Cattaneo. However, on 28 November, after Berlusconi had expressed doubts on its success, the primary was cancelled altogether. On 6 December Alfano announced that Berlusconi would run again for Prime Minister. As soon as 12 December Berlusconi backtracked and stated that if Monti were to run for Prime Minister as the leader of a united centre-right (including also Luca Cordero di Montezemolo's Future Italy) he would stand aside and support him. The move appeased the pro-Monti majority of the party, while disappointing other party wings.
On 16 December the centrist majority of the party, consisting of several leading factions (Liberamente, Network Italy, Reformism and Freedom, Liberal Populars, New Italy, FareItalia, etc.), rallied in Rome under the "Popular Italy" banner: in presence of Alfano, the bulk of the party expressed its support for Monti and Berlusconi. On the very same day, a group of anti-Monti reformers, led by Crosetto and Meloni, organized a separate rally and espoused opposite views. On 17 December Ignazio La Russa announced he was leaving the PdL in order to form "National Centre-Right", aiming at representing not just anti-Monti right-wingers, but also the liberals and Christian democrats around Crosetto. On 21 December La Russa's National Centre-Right and the groups around Crosetto and Meloni joined forces and formed Brothers of Italy. To complete the picture of a highly fragmented centre-right, in the previous months there had already been two minor but significant splits from the PdL: on 3 October Giulio Tremonti left to form the Labour and Freedom List, while on 22 November a group of MPs, led by Isabella Bertolini, formed Free Italy.
In early January 2013, after Berlusconi had announced his return as party leader and Monti had refused to join forces with the PdL, the bulk of the party rallied again behind Berlusconi and just a few leading members, notably including Mario Mauro, left to join Monti's Civic Choice party. Most of the centre-right was regrouped around the PdL, which took part to the February general election in coalition with Lega Nord (including the Labour and Freedom List), Brothers of Italy, The Right, Great South (including the Movement for the Autonomies), the Pensioners' Party, the Moderates in Revolution and Popular Agreement.
In the election the PdL obtained 21.6% of the vote (–15.8% from 2008) and the coalition came just 0.3% short of the centre-left. After some inconclusive attempts by Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Democratic Party, to form a government, the PdL joined Enrico Letta's government of grand coalition, providing five ministers, including Angelino Alfano who was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, two deputy ministers and several under-secretaries.
Revival of Forza Italia
On 1 August 2013 Berlusconi was convicted for tax evasion and sentenced to four years of imprisonment, the last three being automatically pardoned. On 18 September, when discussing the enactment of a related six-year public office ban, as required by the "Severino law", the Senate committee in charge of elections refused to endorse a PdL resolution relinquishing Berlusconi's ban, as both the PD and the M5S disagreed. On the same day Berlusconi launched the new Forza Italia (FI) and pledged to stay on as its leader in any case. The would-be PdL coalition might include the new FI, Lega Nord and other parties. In fact, in disagreement with the new FI's liberalism, some members led by former mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno, who left the PdL in October 2013, might form a conservative party modelled on the late National Alliance (AN), along with Brothers of Italy and other minor right-wing parties, and eventually join the coalition.
After months of bickering within the party between "doves", supporting Letta's government, and "hawks", very critical of it, on 28 September Berlusconi asked to the five ministers of the party (Angelino Alfano, Maurizio Lupi, Gaetano Quagliariello, Beatrice Lorenzin and Nunzia De Girolamo) to resign from the government over a tax hike. The ministers obeyed, but made clear that they dissented from the decision; Quagliariello and Lorenzin announced that they might not join the new FI, while Alfano described himself "differently berlusconiano". The party's moderates, mainly Christian democrats as Alfano and Lupi (Roberto Formigoni, Carlo Giovanardi, etc.) and social democrats (Fabrizio Cicchitto, Maurizio Sacconi, etc.), sided with the ministers, while the hawks led by Daniela Santanchè, most of whom liberals (Antonio Martino, Denis Verdini, Giancarlo Galan, Renato Brunetta, Sandro Bondi, Niccolò Ghedini, Daniele Capezzone, etc.), supported the exit from the government.
On 2 October a confidence vote, called by Prime Minister Letta, revealed the division within party ranks, to the extent that around 70 PdL lawmakers were ready to split in order to support the government, in case Berlusconi and the party had decided not to do the same. Faced by this ultimatum, Berlusconi made a U-turn few minutes ahead of the vote and subsequently tried a reconciliation process within the party to avoid the split. The outcome was a clear victory for the doves and the "ministerial faction" of the PdL, who continued to serve in the government. Raffaele Fitto, Christian democrat and leader of the self-proclaimed "loyalists" (the party's mainstream, including Mariastella Gelmini, Mara Carfagna, etc.), supported by Galan and Bondi, announced his disagreement with Alfano's political line and proposed a congress to decide the party's positionment, while the floor leaders, Maurizio Gasparri, Altero Matteoli, Paolo Romani and others came out as "mediators".
On 25 October the PdL's executive committee voted to suspend all the party's activities and proposed the transformation of the current party into the new FI. Consequently, all the leadership roles in the PdL were temporarily revoked and a national council was summoned for 16 November. In order to approve the executive's proposal over the party's future, a 2/3 majority among voting delegates at the national council was required.
On 16 November 2013 PdL was formally dissolved and replaced by the new FI, while a day earlier a group of dissidents, led by Alfano and including all five PdL ministers, had announced the formation of separate parliamentary groups, called New Centre-Right (NCD).
Ideology and factions
The PdL aimed at combining together the traditions of its two main predecessors, Forza Italia (FI) and National Alliance (AN), as well as their smaller partners (Liberal Populars, Christian Democracy for the Autonomies, New Italian Socialist Party, Liberal Reformers, Social Action, etc.).
FI, launched in 1994 by Silvio Berlusconi, was joined mainly by former Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals who had seen their parties disappear amid the Tangentopoli scandals. AN, successor of the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), had become a respectable conservative party under the leadership of Gianfranco Fini. FI and AN started to cooperate and were the pillars of the centre-right Pole of Good Government, Pole of Freedoms and House of Freedoms coalitions.
The "Charter of Values" of the PdL underlined the "Christian" and "liberal" character of the party, presenting it as a defender of traditional values as well as of individual responsibility and self-determination. The document stressed the adherence of the party to the values and the platform of the European People's Party (EPP), its support for European integration and the transformation of Italy into a federal state.[third-party source needed]
The PdL was a classic example of catch-all party. The party's main cultural strains were Christian democracy and liberal conservatism, but it is not to underestimate the weight of those coming from the right-wing AN and the relevant role played by former Socialists, who were disproportionately represented in Berlusconi IV Cabinet. Four leading ministers (Giulio Tremonti, Franco Frattini, Maurizio Sacconi and Renato Brunetta) hailed from the old PSI, while another Socialist, Fabrizio Cicchitto, was the party leader in the Chamber of Deputies. This is not to say that all former Socialists were actually social democrats: for instance, while Tremonti was an outspoken critic of globalization and is not enthusiastic about labour market flexibility, Brunetta was a free-market liberal and frequently clashed with Tremonti over economic and fiscal policy. Moreover, internal alliances were often not consistent with the previous affiliation of party members. On issues such as end of life, Sacconi, a former Socialist who still claimed to be a social democrat, sided with the party's Christian democrats and the social-conservative wing of the former AN, while several members hailing from the MSI found themselves in alliance with the liberal wing of the former FI. This is no surprise as the late MSI also had a strong secular tradition, while FI was home to both social conservatives and uncompromising social liberals. On the economy, ex-FI Tremonti was often at odds with ex-FI liberals like Antonio Martino and Benedetto Della Vedova, and, lately, was attacked by Giancarlo Galan for being a "socialist".
Traditional values and the social market economy grew of importance in the rhetoric of the new party, partly replacing the small government and libertarian ideals expressed by FI. In this respect, Sacconi summarised the economic propositions of the PdL with the slogan "less state, more society". However, in the PdL there was still some room for Reaganomics, with Berlusconi often making the case for lower taxes and Tremonti for deregulation and against red tape.
Factions (as of November 2011)
The party was home to a wide range of factions, groups and associate parties, whose ideology ranged from social democracy to national conservatism. As of November 2011, the factions, listed by political ideology, were as follows:
- Christian democrats. The core of the former Forza Italia (FI) plus some minor groups (Network Italy, Scajoliani/Christopher Columbus Foundation, Pisaniani, Christian Democracy for the Autonomies, Liberal Populars, Christian Reformists, Federation of Christian Populars, and a pletora of local groups). Many party members hailed from the late Christian Democracy: they included Roberto Formigoni, Renato Schifani, Claudio Scajola, Angelino Alfano, Mario Mauro and Maurizio Lupi.
- Liberal-centrists. Various groups (Liberamente, Tremontiani, Magna Carta, Dellutriani) presided the centre of the party. Liberamente, led by Mariastella Gelmini and Franco Frattini, represented the bulk of FI, being composed by liberal loyalists of Berlusconi, and was probably the single largest faction within the party.
- Liberals. The liberal factions of the former FI (Free Foundation, Popular Liberalism) plus some new groupings (mainly Countercurrent). Leading liberals within PdL ranks were Antonio Martino, Raffaele Costa, Giancarlo Galan and Daniele Capezzone.
- Social democrats. The social democrats of the former FI, their organisations (Reformism and Freedom, We Reformers, Italian Reformists, European Reformists), plus the New Italian Socialist Party. Notably, several leading members of the party started their political career in the Italian Socialist Party and some of them still identified themselves as Socialists as members of the PdL: Franco Frattini, Giulio Tremonti, Maurizio Sacconi, Renato Brunetta, Fabrizio Cicchitto and Stefano Caldoro.
- Liberal conservatives. The bulk of the former National Alliance (AN)'s main factions (New Alliance, Protagonist Right), as well as people from other parties; Maurizio Gasparri and Ignazio La Russa re-organised their faction into Protagonist Italy, while Altero Matteoli launched the Foundation of Freedom.
- National conservatives. The right-wing of the former AN, which was represented by several groups (New Italy, Movement for Italy, Libertarian Right).
- Grassroots. Centre-right clubs in the tradition of the early FI (Promoters of Freedom, Circles of Freedom, Clubs of Freedom, Circles of Good Government).
Factions (as of October 2013)
- Doves (colombe). These centrists, mainly Christian democrats and social democrats, favoured a greater autonomy of the party from Silvio Berlusconi, supported the Letta Cabinet and lead the party from the minority. The doves included Angelino Alfano, Maurizio Lupi, Gaetano Quagliariello, Beatrice Lorenzin, Nunzia De Girolamo, Fabrizio Cicchitto, Roberto Formigoni, Carlo Giovanardi, and, to some extent, Renato Schifani.
- Mediators (mediatori). These centrists, including Renato Brunetta, Maurizio Gasparri, Altero Matteoli, Paolo Romani, Paolo Bonaiuti, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, Osvaldo Napoli and Stefano Caldoro, favoured party unity above everything else.
- Loyalists (lealisti). These supporters of Berlusconi and of the original Forza Italia, including most of the party's liberal conservatives and many Christian democrats, opposed Alfano's line. The loyalists included Raffaele Fitto, Mara Carfagna, Mariastella Gelmini, Mario Mantovani, Francesco Nitto Palma and Renata Polverini.
- Hawks (falchi). These hard-line liberals, including Denis Verdini, Daniela Santanché, Giancarlo Galan, Sandro Bondi, Niccolò Ghedini and Daniele Capezzone, are the most loyal supporters of Berlusconi and repeatedly tried to convince him to bring down Letta's government. Most of them could have been considered "loyalists" too.
On 15 November, the day before the PdL's dissolution in the new FI, the "doves" left the party to form the New Centre-Right party.
The PdL granted financial support to several minor parties of the centre-right. They contributed one million Euros to the Liberal Democrats whose deputies were elected on the PdL list in 2008, and left the government camp after some months but returned in April 2011. Other parties who received payments from PdL were the Force of the South (€300,000), Christian Democracy for Campania (€144,000), Social Action (€100,000), Christian Democracy for the Autonomies (€96,000), the Alliance of the Centre (€80,000), the Movement of National Responsibility (€49,000) and the Federation of Christian Populars (€40,000).
The PdL had its strongholds in Southern Italy, especially in Campania, Apulia and Sicily, but its power base included also two regions of the North, Lombardy and Veneto, where the party however suffered the competition of Lega Nord, which controlled the governorships of Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto. The regions governed by a PdL governor in 2013 were just four – Campania, Calabria, Abruzzo and Sardinia – far less than the Democratic Party and its allies, which controlled twelve.
In the 2008 general election the party scored over 40% in Campania (49.1%), in Sicily (46.6%), Apulia (45.6%), Lazio (43.5%) and Calabria (41.2%). In the 2013 general election, in which the PdL suffered a dramatic loss of votes, the party ran stronger in Campania (29.0%), Apulia (28.9%) and Sicily (26.5%).
The electoral results of the PdL in the regions of Italy are shown in the table below. As the party was launched in 2007, the electoral results from 1994 to 2006 refer to the combined result of the two main percursor parties, Forza Italia and National Alliance.
|1994 general||1995 regional||1996 general||1999 European||2000 regional||2001 general||2004 European||2005 regional||2006 general||2008 general||2009 European||2010 regional||2013 general|
|Sicily||47.6||31.2 (1996)||48.6||38.9||36.4 (2001)||47.4||36.0||29.8 (2006)||40.0||46.6||36.4||33.4 (2008)||26.5|
|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
- President: Silvio Berlusconi (2008–2013)
- Secretary: Angelino Alfano (2011–2013)
- Coordinator: Sandro Bondi (2009–2013), Ignazio La Russa (2009–2012), Denis Verdini (2009–2013)
- Party Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Fabrizio Cicchitto (2008–2013), Renato Brunetta (2013)
- Party Leader in the Senate: Maurizio Gasparri (2008–2013), Renato Schifani (2013)
- Party Leader in the European Parliament: Mario Mauro (2009–2013), Giovanni La Via (2013)
- Duncan McDonnell (2013). "Silvio Berlusconi's Personal Parties: From Forza Italia to Popolo Della Libertà". Political Studies 61 (S1): 217–233. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.01007.x.
- David Hine; Davide Vampa (2011). Another Divorce: The PdL in 2010. Much Ado About Nothing?. Italian Politics 26 (Berghahn). pp. 65–84.
- ""Primarie e nuovo nome" Alfano ridisegna il Pdl". Corriere. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Sì all' emergenza Nel programma i 39 punti della Bce". Corriere. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Tessere fantasma nel Pdl, tagliati 100 iscritti. “C’erano anche clandestini dei Cie”
- Voti contesi e tessere fantasma È l'Italia dei brogli (bipartisan)
- Defunti e bimbi iscritti al partito. Il Pdl salernitano finisce nella bufera
- Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe – Italy". Parties-and-elections.eu.
- Anita Fetzer (29 January 2013). The Pragmatics of Political Discourse: Explorations across cultures. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 131. ISBN 978-90-272-7239-3.
- Conservatori e liberali, La Stampa, 28 March 2009
- Chiara Moroni, Da Forza Italia al Popolo della Libertà, Carocci, Rome 2008
- "Berlusconi: "Simbolo unico per Fi e An"". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 8 February 2008.
- 28 giugno 2013. "''Berlusconi: Forza Italia back and I will be driving it'' (Italian language)". Ilsole24ore.com. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- Berlusconi annuncia ritorno di Forza Italia. "Temo che sarò ancora il numero uno". Repubblica.it (2013-06-28). Retrieved on 2013-08-24.
- "Berlusconi breaks away from Italy government after party ruptures". Reuters. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Marcello Campo (13 May 2013). "Partito della Libertà, Registrato il simbolo: la Lega minaccia". America Oggi. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Casta". Corriere della Sera.
- "Oggi nasce il partito del popolo italiano". Corriere della Sera. 18 November 2007.
- "Il futuro della rivoluzione del predellino". Tempi.
- "E per la rivoluzione del predellino il Cavaliere lascia giacca e cravatta". Ricerca. 29 October 2010.
- ""Basta con il populismo" Affondo di Fini e Casini". Corriere della Sera. 24 November 2007.
- "Fini: il Vassallum? Truffa L' ira di Forza Italia". Corriere della Sera. 10 December 2007.
- "Berlusconi: altri 5 anni? Farò staffetta come Blair". Corriere della Sera. 26 January 2008.
- "Berlusconi: FI e An unite E dà l' ultimatum all' Udc". Corriere della Sera. 9 February 2008.
- "Parlement Européen 2009". Europe-politique. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- ""Fini, candidato ideale pd" Gelo di La Russa e Gasparri". Corriere della Sera. 21 February 2009.
- "Affondo di Fini: no a leggi orientate dalla fede". Corriere della Sera. 19 May 2009.
- "Fini, nuovo duello con il Senatur "Il vero suicidio è negare i diritti"". Corriere della Sera. 13 September 2009.
- "Berlusconi-Fini Un faccia a faccia dopo lo scontro". Corriere della Sera. 19 September 2009.
- "Dubbi nella maggioranza sullo stop alla par condicio". Corriere della Sera. 20 September 2009.
- "Il premier consegna le prime case Poi l' attacco in tv". Corriere della Sera. 16 September 2009.
- "Immigrati e bioetica" (PDF). Libero. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- Vittorio Macioce (23 April 2010). "Fini e quell’ossessione per il Nord". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Nel suo "fortino" al Secolo "Con lui, è un leader europeo"". Corriere della Sera. 12 September 2009.
- "Il gelo degli "ex" colonnelli sul leader". Corriere della Sera. 9 September 2009.
- "I "colonnelli" e il gelo con l' ex leader Alemanno e Matteoli lontani Gasparri: è cambiato lui, non io". Corriere della Sera. 4 December 2009.
- "Fine vita, Bondi apre. E i laici: ora si cambi la legge". Corriere della Sera. 30 March 2009.
- "Via a Generazione Italia la nuova associazione "benedetta" da Fini". Corriere della Sera. 15 March 2010.
- "Pdl, Fini forma la sua corrente "Berlusconi accetti il dissenso"". La Stampa. 20 April 2010.
- "E nasce un Correntone ex An contro Gianfranco". La Stampa. 20 April 2010.
- "La sfida del cofondatore "Non sono un dipendente Sarà lui a bruciarsi"". Corriere della Sera. 23 April 2010.
- "Fini: "Chi è indagato lasci l'incarico Le leggi non servano a salvare i furbi"". Il Giornale. 26 July 2010.
- "Pdl, il documento dell'Ufficio di Presidenza". Repubblica. 29 July 2010.
- "Via ai gruppi finiani "Qualche difficoltà ma numeri importanti"". Corriere della Sera. 31 July 2010.
- "Previsioni sbagliate sui numeri: nel mirino le fedelissime". Corriere della Sera. 1 August 2010.
- "Finiani, pronto il gruppo anche al Senato". Corriere della Sera. 1 August 2010.
- "Italy's political crisis: A FLI in his ear". The Economist. 5 August 2010.
- "Fini: "Il premier si dimetta o noi lasceremo il governo"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "I finiani fuori dal governo Duello sul voto di fiducia". Corriere della Sera. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Dal Pdl a Fli, andata e ritorno Angeli: vedrò il Cavaliere". Corriere della Sera. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Sfida in Aula, il governo passa per tre voti". Corriere della Sera. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Not-so-sweet home". The Economist. 31 May 2011.
- "Il Pdl all' unanimità: "Alfano sarà segretario"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Tremonti e i dubbi del premier sulla manovra". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Svolta nel Pdl, Alfano segretario "Voglio un partito degli onesti"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "L' annuncio di Alfano "Un milione di iscritti"". Corriere della Sera. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Berlusconi: i cattolici sono con noi Da Bagnasco nessuna spallata". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Pdl, chiusa la campagna per il tesseramento La Russa: arriveremo a quota 800 mila". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "La fronda di Pisanu e Scajola L' idea di un Berlusconi bis". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Scajola-Pdl, sfida sui deputati incerti". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il governo incassa la fiducia Fallito il piano "numero legale"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Servono una diversa fase politica e il varo di un nuovo esecutivo". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Lettera dei "ribelli": così non si va avanti". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Ribelli inquieti, due vanno all' Udc La maggioranza scende a 314 voti". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Maggioranza in ansia verso l' Aula I sì per ora sono a "quota 310"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Deputati e Organi Parlamentari - Composizione gruppi Parlamentari". Camera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "E Bossi provò la "carta Angelino"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Berlusconi, il giorno dello strappo "Lascio dopo il voto sulle misure Ue"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "A Montecitorio i "ribelli" si organizzano". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Napolitano al premier: atti immediati Il Colle chiede una tempistica serrata". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Pdl lacerato, Alfano mediatore Spunta l' ipotesi dell' appoggio esterno". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Dai vertici pdl l' ultima spinta Ma è già incubo urne E Scajola dice no al voto". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il Pdl si spacca, c' è il fronte dei contrari". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il Cavaliere chiuda da uomo di Stato Aiuti a salvare il Paese anche con il Pd". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Abbiamo litigato su tutto con il Pd Come si governa?". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Pdl in crisi tra malumori e sospetti Scontro tra Frattini e La Russa". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Berlusconi ha dato le dimissioni Il giorno dell' incarico a Monti". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il leader esce di scena "Ma al Senato possiamo staccare ancora la spina"". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- "Il voto sarebbe un massacro". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Fiducia Governo Monti". Parlamento. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Fiducia Governo Monti". Parlamento. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "La deriva dei lumbard rende più difficile il ritorno con il Pdl". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Berlusconi: Non mi ricandido premier. Primarie del Pdl il 16 dicembre". Pdl. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il passo indietro del Cavaliere "Primarie del Pdl a dicembre"". Corriere della Sera. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il progetto: Monti bis e partito ad Alfano". Corriere della Sera. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Alfano e l'incognita Berlusconi: "Le primarie? Per ora ci sono"". Corriere della Sera. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Paola Di Caro (29 November 2012). "Primarie annullate: Pdl tra rifondazione e spacchettamento". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- ""Le primarie non ci saranno" Alfano conferma: Silvio in campo". Corriere della Sera. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il mio passo indietro dipende anche da Monti". Corriere della Sera. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Per un giorno il Cavaliere ricompatta il partito". Corriere della Sera. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Il Pdl ancora nell'incertezza E resta l'ipotesi della scissione". Corriere della Sera. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "E il Cavaliere prova a disinnescare le grandi manovre dei dissidenti". Corriere della Sera. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Pdl, il giorno dei montiani. "No a scissioni"". Corriere della Sera. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Appello a Monti e guerra alla sinistra Il Pdl si ricompatta". Corriere della Sera. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Crosetto-Meloni, nasce la destra antiMonti". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Pdl, la destra in fermento La Russa se ne va e fonda "Centrodestra nazionale"". Corriere della Sera. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Dal Centrodestra nazionale ai Fratelli d'Italia: Giorgia Meloni e Guido Crosetto vicini a Ignazio La Russa". Huffington post. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Strappo Pdl, nasce ‘Italia libera’: "Samorì? Più a sinistra di Ferrando"". Video Il Fatto Quotidiano TV. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Crisi Pdl, 5 'fedelissimi' di Berlusconi se ne vanno e fondano 'Italia libera'". Quotidiano Net. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "PdL - Il Popolo della Libertà - Berlusconi: Torna Forza Italia. Il Popolo della Libertà resterà come coalizione di partiti del centrodestra". Pdl.it. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "Confermata la condanna Berlusconi sconterà 1 anno". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Decadenza, primo no al Cavaliere I senatori del Pdl lasciano l?aula". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- September 18, 2013 18:41 BST (2013-09-18). "Silvio Berlusconi Relaunches Forza Italia on Senate Ousting Vote". Ibtimes.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Alemanno dice addio al Pdl: «Mercoledì aderisco a Officina per l'Italia» - Il Messaggero". Ilmessaggero.it. 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Alemanno lancia un nuovo partito "Con me gli ex di Alleanza nazionale" - Roma - Repubblica.it". Roma.repubblica.it. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "Alemanno lancia un nuovo partito Potrebbe chiamarsi "Alleanza popolare" o "Azione nazionale" - Il Messaggero". Ilmessaggero.it. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- Davide Di Santo (2013-09-16). "Atreju, Giorgia Meloni lancia l'Officina per l'Italia - Politica - iltempo". Iltempo.it. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- Davide Di Santo (2013-09-16). "Meloni prova a scalare la destra - Politica - iltempo". Iltempo.it. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "Berlusconi fa dimettere i ministri Letta: gesto folle per motivi personali". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Un Berlusconi inquieto cerca di bloccare una rottura nel Pdl". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "La riscossa di ex dc e socialisti ecco chi ci ha messo la firma". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Tra calici e candeline la lunga notte dei dissidenti: guardate quanti siamo". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Nel Pdl colombe pronte alla battaglia E il partito ora rischia la scissione". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Split within Berlusconi's party 'on hold'". Gazzetta del Sud. 3 October 2013.
- "Sì alla fiducia, la vittoria dei «ribelli» E alla fine il governo si ritrova più voti". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Fitto: noi lealisti non vogliamo posti Azzerare tutto e poi congresso". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Pdl, tanti no all?ipotesi del congresso". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Il Pdl e la sfida sugli incarichi Si affacciano i mediatori". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Forza Italia - Ufficio di Presidenza: Il testo integrale della delibera". Forzaitalia.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Pdl, Berlusconi anticipa la resa dei conti" (in Italian). La Stampa. 6 November 2013.
- "Forza Italy, Formigoni: "The dissolution is only a proposal"" (in Italian). Corriere. 26 October 2013.
- "Carta Dei valori". PdL - Il Popolo della Libertà.
- "De Michelis consulente di Brunetta "Io, un padre che torna ai figli"". Corriere della Sera. 23 September 2009.
- "Il Socialismo Di Brunetta E La Storia Di Forza Italia". Corriere della Sera. 25 November 2008.
- "E Tremonti denunciò la globalizzazione". Corriere della Sera. 4 March 2008.
- "Tremonti: credo al posto fisso, non alla mobilità". Corriere della Sera. 20 October 2009.
- "Premium content". Economist. 28 August 2008.
- "Il Paradosso Di Tremonti". Corriere della Sera. 8 March 2008.
- "Brunetta: basta veti Tremonti ha commissariato il governo". Corriere della Sera. 22 November 2009.
- "Il Tesoro "disorientato" Telefonata con il Cavaliere". Corriere della Sera. 23 November 2009.
- "La solitudine del liberale forzistaNella raccolta di articoli dell' ex ministro Martino la contrapposizione con il colbertismo di Tremonti". Corriere della Sera. 12 May 2008.
- "Martino: Pdl somiglia a fascismo, no a liberalismo". Liberti amo. 14 March 2009.
- Adalberto Signore (21 April 2011). "Galan: "Tremonti? Un socialista Fermiamolo o ci farà perdere voti"". IlGiornale (in Italian). Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Contro di noi un cartello Se cadiamo si va al voto". Corriere della Sera. 2010-08-02.
- "Tremonti: ora un piano per la libertà d' impresa". Corriere della Sera. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Una riforma in quattro mesi Si punta all' autocertificazione". Corriere della Sera. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Quella telefonata tra il Cavaliere e Tremonti Il ministro e l' attivismo sul fronte economico: l' art. 41? Ne scrissi qualche decennio fa". Corriere della Sera. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Pdl, le correnti: nomi e cognomi - Libero Quotidiano". Liberoquotidiano.it. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- Cuzzocrea, Annalisa (31 October 2012), "Spuntano i fondi ai transfughi così il partito ha finanziato Scilipoti", La Repubblica
- Combined result of the PdL (11.9%) and Lista Polverini (26.3%), Renata Polverini's personal list (26.3%). The PdL failed to present a list in the Province of Rome and thus most PdL voters voted for Lista Polverini instead.
- Forza Italia failed to present a list and, although most centre-right voters voted for National Alliance, some of them voted for PPI and Patto Segni.
- Combined result of the PdL (26.4%) and Lista Scopelliti (9.9%), Giuseppe Scopelliti's personal list.