Italian People's Party (1919)
|Italian Popular Party
Partito Popolare Italiano
|Leader||Don Luigi Sturzo, Alcide De Gasperi|
|Founded||18 January 1919|
|Dissolved||5 November 1926|
|Succeeded by||Christian Democracy|
Christian left (minority)
|Politics of Italy
It was founded in 1919 by Luigi Sturzo, a Catholic priest. The PPI was backed by Pope Benedict XV to oppose the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). In the 1919 general election the party won 20.5% of the vote and 100 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, a result confirmed in 1921.
The PPI was the second largest Italian political party after the PSI at the time. Its heartlands were in interior Veneto and north-western Lombardy. In 1919 the party won 42.6% in Veneto (49.4% in Vicenza), 30.1% in Lombardy (64.3% in Bergamo), 24.4% in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 27.3% in the Marche and 26.2% in Lazio, while it was much weaker in Piedmont and in Southern Italy.
The PPI was divided into two factions: the "Catholic Democrats" were favourable to an accord with the Socialists, while the "Moderate Clericalists" supported an alliance with the liberal parties, what eventually happened. The latter included Alcide De Gasperi. Some Populars took part in Benito Mussolini's first government in 1922, leading the party to a division between opponents of Mussolini and those who supported him. These eventually joined the National Fascist Party. Most of the PPI members later took part in Christian Democracy.