Italy of Values
|Italy of Values|
|Honorary President||Antonio Di Pietro|
|Founded||21 March 1998|
|Headquarters||Via Santa Maria in Via, 12
|National affiliation||The Union (2005–2007)
Civil Revolution (2013)
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Politics of Italy
Italy of Values (Italia dei Valori, IdV) is a centrist, populist and anti-corruption political party in Italy. The party was founded by former Mani pulite prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, who entered politics in 1996.
The party aims at gathering and giving voice to different sectors of the Italian society. From the beginning of its existence one of its major issues has been the so-called "moral issue". At European level, the IdV party is member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party and the ALDE Group.
Background and formation (1996–2001)
Antonio Di Pietro was minister of Public Works in the Prodi I Cabinet from May to November 1996, when he resigned because he was under investigation in Brescia. In November 1997 he was elected senator for The Olive Tree in a by-election in Mugello, a stronghold of the Democrats of the Left (DS) in Tuscany, by trouncing his major opponent Giuliano Ferrara 67.7% to 16.1% and despite the presence of a Communist candidate on the ballot, Sandro Curzi who received 13.0%. In March 1998 Di Pietro set up his own Italy of Values (IdV) party, alongside with Willer Bordon of the Democratic Union and Rino Piscitello and Franco Danieli of The Net.
In February 1999 Di Pietro integrated IdV into The Democrats, a new party founded by Romano Prodi with the goal of transforming the The Olive Tree coalition in a single "Democratic" party. In the 1999 European Parliament election The Democrats scored 7.7% and Di Pietro was elected MEP. He was also appointed organisational secretary and Senate floor leader of the party. In April 2000, however, Di Pietro abruptly left in opposition to the appointment of Giuliano Amato, a long-time member of the Italian Socialist Party (which was the main subject of investigation of Di Pietro as prosecutor), as Prime Minister of Italy after the resignation of Massimo D'Alema. Shortly afterwards, Di Pietro set up IdV again.
IdV took part to the 2001 general election as a stand-alone party on a populist platform, which included tough management of illegal immigration and protest against waste of public money. IdV's campaign was focused principally against Silvio Berlusconi, who was the candidate for Prime Minister of the centre-right House of Freedoms (CdL) coalition. IdV won 3.9% in the election, 0.1% short of the 4% threshold, and obtained no seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The party elected one senator, Valerio Carrara, but, after a few days from the election, he surprisingly switched to Forza Italia (FI), Berlusconi's party.
From isolation to electoral success (2001–2009)
In the 2004 European Parliament election Di Pietro teamed up with Achille Occhetto, a former leader of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), under the banner of Società Civile Di Pietro–Occhetto. The list gained 2.1% of the national vote and both men were elected MEPs. After the election, Occhetto immediately renounced to his seat and was replaced by Giulietto Chiesa, a communist journalist, who sat with the PES group.
In early 2006 Leoluca Orlando, former mayor of Palermo, some splinters from the UDEUR Populars, including Pino Pisicchio and Egidio Pedrini, and former DS such as Fabio Evangelisti and Federico Palomba, joined the party. In the 2006 general elections, IdV, this time member of the winning centre-left coalition The Union, scored 2.1% and Di Pietro was sworn in as minister for Infrastructures in the Prodi II Cabinet.
After the fall of Prodi's government, Di Pietro formed an alliance with the Democratic Party (PD) for the 2008 general election. IdV made major gains but its coalition partner did not and they were driven into opposition. With its 4.4% of the vote, 29 deputies and 14 senators, IdV became the fourth largest party in Parliament.
Following the election, IdV formed its own groups in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, instead of joining the Democrats in a joint group as promised, and started a competition with its main ally. In October 2008 Veltroni, who distanced from Di Pietro many times, declared that "on some issues he [Di Pietro] is distant from the democratic language of the centre-left", however the PD decided to support Carlo Costantini (IdV) in the 2008 regional election in Abruzzo. Costantini was defeated, but in the event IdV came close to the PD (15.0% versus 19.6%).
In the 2009 European Parliament election the list got 8.0% of the national vote, quadrupling the votes obtained five years before and gaining 7 seats. In the run-up for the election Di Pietro recruited to run in IdV lists Pino Arlacchi, a former senator for the DS, Gianni Vattimo, a leftist philosopher, Maurizio Zipponi, a former trade unionist and deputy of the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), and Luigi de Magistris, a left-wing former prosecutor of Catanzaro who inquired Romano Prodi. Arlacchi, De Magistris and Vattimo were all elected to the European Parliament. From the results of the European election, IdV was the fourth largest party in the country.
Following these results, Di Pietro said that IdV "will remove his name from the symbol of the party, in order to build something larger, more useful and that represents something more important". He also said that "we need to become a great progressive party that supports a proposal for a credible government". However the party's executive finally decided not to remove the name of its founder, considering that name still too important for the party.
"Populist" turn and discontents (2009–2013)
Since de Magistris's strong showing in the 2009 European election there was talk of an underground row between him and Di Pietro for the leaderhip of the party. Moreover, as some members of the party were entalied with corruption charges, others like Francesco Barbato urged Di Pietro to be more earnest in cleaning up the party. De Magistris, keen on aligning the party with the far left and the most radical groups in opposition to Berlusconi, dubbed Di Pietro as too moderate and denounced that the party "risks of becoming the DC of the third millennium". While the party's grassroots supported a change of leadership and de Magistris initially did not rule this out, the party's old guard (Silvana Mura, Massimo Donadi, Felice Belisario, Luigi Li Gotti and Leoluca Orlando) staunchly defended the leader. Finally an agreement was reached between the two: during the 5–7 February 2010 party congress de Magistris would support Di Pietro in exchange of a leading role in the party. In any event Di Pietro was re-elected as party president unopposed, while de Magistris did not became party secretary as he wanted.
The populist course taken by the party, that enforced its co-operation with the far left, and the emergence of more "extreme" figures like de Magistris led Pino Pisicchio and his centrist faction to leave the party in order to join Francesco Rutelli's Alliance for Italy (ApI) in November 2009. While leaving the party along with other three MPs, Pisicchio told the press that the choice by Di Pietro to line up IdV in the "antagonist camp" was a departure from its original nature of a "centrist party of liberal-democratic inspiration". Giuseppe Astore, a senator from Di Pietro's Molise, left the party making similar remarks: "De Magistris is too far on the left for me [...]. I want a reformist not an extremist party". In the summer of 2010 two MEPs, Pino Arlacchi and Vincenzo Iovine, left IdV citing the lack of democracy in the party and its "authoritarian" ways. Arlacchi, a former senator of the PDS, subsequently joined the PD, while Iovine, a former Christian Democrat, the ApI. In December two deputies, Antonio Razzi and Domenico Scilipoti, left the party in order to support Berlusconi's government.
In early 2011 IdV proposed three referendums. Thanks to its activists, the party was able to collect two million signatures among the Italian population in support of these referendums, which were concerned with the abrogation of the so-called "legittimo impedimento" (an Italian law which permits the Prime Minister to postpone potential trials if prosecuted by the judiciary), the abrogation of a law allowing the construction of nuclear power plants in Italy and the abrogation of a law allowing the privatisation of water management. The referendums took place in June 2011 and the "yes" prevailed in all three cases (see Italian referendums, 2011).
On 30 May 2011 de Magistris was elected mayor of Naples by a landslide. The IdV candidate, who had received just 27.5% of the vote in the first round (enough to beat the Democratic candidate off the second round), won a thumping 65.4% of the vote against the centre-right candidate in the run-off. This was a huge success for IdV and its main ally, the Federation of the Left, which together also gained the majority in the municipal council.
In October 2012 the party came under pressure after some news inquiries reported obscurities in party finances. The party was also suffering heavy losses in opinion polls due to the success of a new protest party led by comedian Beppe Grillo, the Five Star Movement (M5S). In an interview to Il Fatto Quotidiano, Di Pietro declared IdV "dead" and, foreseeing its exclusion from Parliament after the next election, stated that the party would fight from the outside and would endorse the M5S. Grillo proposed Di Pietro as President of the Republic but ruled out any alliance between M5S and IdV. The interview caused unrest within party ranks and led to the exit of a "moderate" wing led by Massimo Donadi, who was replaced as floor leader in the Chamber by Antonio Borghesi. Donadi, along with other three deputies (Nello Formisano, Giovanni Paladini and Gaetano Porcino) and one senator (Stefano Pedica), launched Rights and Freedom (DL), which was later integrated in the Democratic Centre (CD).
In October 2012 also de Magistris quit the party and formed the Orange Movement (MA), which was joined by many IdV left-wingers. However, as soon as late December both IdV and MA were founding components of Civil Revolution (RC), a far-left coalition led by Antonio Ingroia.
In the 2013 general election RC won a mere 2.2% of the vote and IdV was thus out of Parliament for the first time in almost ten years.
Out of Parliament (2013–present)
After RC's debacle, Di Pietro resigned from party president. On 13 May Di Pietro, on behalf of the party's executive, announced that the experience of RC was over for IdV and that the party would elect a new leader during a congress to be held in June. In the meantime, Leoluca Orlando, Felice Belisario, Carlo Costantini and other leading members of IdV left the party to launch the 139 Movement (139 being the number of the articles of the Italian Constitution).
In the party congress, convened for 28–30 June, delegates chose the new leader, a secretary instead of a president, among five candidates: Antonio Borghesi, Matteo Castellarin, Ignazio Messina, Niccolò Rinaldi and Nicola Scalera. In the last ballot Messina was elected with 69.1% of the vote over Rinaldi, who had received the endosements of Borghesi, Castellarin and Scalera.
Ideology and factions
While the party had been generally aligned with the centre-left, its members had been very diverse ideologically, ranging from the far left (i.e. Franca Rame, a former member of Soccorso Rosso, and Pancho Pardi, a former activist of Potere Operaio) to the right, thanks to the populist message of the party. The party includes former Communists and former Leghisti, as well as former Missini and several former Christian Democrats. According to 2009 a study by Pino Pisicchio, a political scientist who was then deputy of IdV, 57.1% of the party's MPs were former Christian Democrats or members of post-Christian Democratic parties (including 11.9% from the UDEUR Populars), 9.5% were former Communists, 4.8% came from far-left parties and movements, 2.4% were former Missini and 2.4% former Leghisti.
The party is a supporter of legality, law and order, the police forces, first-past-the-post voting, federalism, corporate reform, lowering the costs of politics, improving the efficiency of public services, fighting corruption, simplifying trials bureaucracy to achieve faster verdicts and regulating conflict of interest.
During the Prodi II Cabinet IdV was the most centrist party in the centre-left coalition and sometimes, despite its harsh criticism of Berlusconi, it switched sides in Parliament on some key issues. At some point, Di Pietro even proposed an electoral alliance between its party, the UDEUR Populars and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC), ruling out any future alliance with the far left. Also during the Berlusconi IV Cabinet IdV supported some plans of the government, notably the introduction of fiscal federalism. However, due to its harsh anti-berlusconismo, IdV has been at times very popular among left-wing voters, a fact that was highlighted also by the increasing number of communists in party ranks and often forms stable alliances with the parties of the far left at the local level, such as in the case of Luigi de Magistris' election as mayor of Naples or in the 2012 regional election in Sicily.
This shift to the left represented by people such as de Magistris was criticised by Pisicchio because, in his view, it was endangering the centrist nature of the party. In November 2009 the party was joined by Franco Grillini, honorary president of Arcigay and former member of the Democrats of the Left. However the party continues to recruit people also on the right, such as Alessandro Cè, a social-conservative former member of Lega Nord with whom Grillini clashed in the past.
The fact that IdV is member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (formerly the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, ELDR) does not mean that it is a liberal party. Notwithstanding its European affiliation, the party is rarely regarded as liberal in Italy, due to its "justicialist" and "populist" tendencies. In fact the party's character is that of a "protest party" and it opposes many policies generally supported by liberals. On the left Di Pietro is described as a right-wing populist by Fausto Bertinotti, as well as by some political commentators. According to Panorama, the reason for these bitter comments by Bertinotti is that Di Pietro is very able to attract votes from the far-left electorate, as well as the right, and this could prevent a resurgence of those parties which were driven out of Parliament in the 2008 general election.
During a council meeting in Rome, ELDR President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck underlined that European Liberals are honored to have IdV as one of its Italian member parties as it exemplifies a political party of integrity and high quality politics. Di Pietro added that "ELDR as the common house of European Liberals is the political home for us in terms of common convictions and a strong support for the cause of political freedoms in Italy". During the 2010 party congress, Di Pietro remarked IdV's liberal identity and denounced what he called "Berlusconi's false liberalism".
In May 2012, IdV became the first Italian political party to announce publicly that it would push for marriage equality. Di Pietro said: "Our party has been the first in Italy to follow U.S. president Barack Obama. We invite other Italian parties to support gay marriage. You don't have to be shy, you have to say yes".
The 2001–2010 electoral results in the 10 most populated regions of Italy plus Abruzzo and Molise (the party's main strongholds) are shown in the table below. Generally speaking, the party is stronger in the South than in the North, where the protest vote is absorbed primarily by Lega Nord.
|2001 general||2004 European||2005 regional||2006 general||2008 general||2009 European||2010 regional|
|Molise||14.3||7.8||8.8 (2006)||8.1||27.7||28.0||8.8 (2011)|
|Sicily||3.9||2.7||- (2006)||4.4||3.4||7.1||1.9 (2008)|
By statute IdV must periodically celebrate a national congress. Congresses usually take place every other year, according to the art. 8 of the party's statute. Up to this point, IdV held three national conventions:
- National Assembly – Rome, 20 February 1999
- National Assembly – Rome, 2–3 October 2004
- National Congress – Rome, 5–7 February 2010 (slogan: The alternative for a new Italy)
- President / Secretary: Antonio Di Pietro (1998–1999, 2000–2013), Ignazio Messina (2013–present)
- Honorary President: Antonio Di Pietro (2013–present)
- Spokesperson: Alessandra Paradisi (1998–1999), Elio Veltri (2000–2002), Giorgio Calò (2002–2005), Aniello Formisano (2005–2006), Leoluca Orlando (2006–2013)
- Organization Coordinator: Antonio Borghesi (2000–2005), Felice Belisario (2005–2008), Ivan Rota (2008–2013), Luciano Pisanello (2013–present)
- Treasurer: Silvana Mura (2000–2013), Ivan Rota (2013–present)
- Party Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Massimo Donadi (2006–2012), Antonio Borghesi (2012–2013)
- Party Leader in the Senate: Aniello Formisano (2006–2008), Felice Belisario (2008–2013)
- Party Leader in the European Parliament: Niccolò Rinaldi (2009–present)
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