Liberalism and radicalism in Italy
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- 1 Background
- 2 Timeline
- 3 Liberal leaders
- 4 Liberal thinkers
- 5 See also
The formation of political groups in the 19th century in divided Italy is based upon personalities, like Camillo di Cavour and Giuseppe Mazzini. Both the Historical Right (Destra Storica) and the Historical Left (Sinistra Storica) were composed of monarchist liberals, while radicals organised themselves as the Radical Party and republicans as the Italian Republican Party. Only in the 1920s, the Liberals around Giovanni Giolitti formed their party, the precursor of the Italian Liberal Party. After the end of World War II both Liberals and Republicans reorganised themselves, followed by more liberal parties in the upcoming decades.
Liberalism was strongly divided after the shake up of Italian politics, following the Tangentopoli scandal and the subsequent Mani Pulite. Nowadays a broad group of parties, not all included, tend to use the label liberal. Liberals are now divided over the centre-right The People of Freedom (the Silvio Berlusconi-led successor of Forza Italia, itself primarily a merger of liberal and Christian-democratic forces) and the centre-left Democratic Party (a merger of social democrats, progressive Christian democrats and social liberals). Then there are some minor liberal parties: the formerly centre-left - nowadays centre-right - Italian Republican Party (former ELDR member) and the Italian Radicals (ALDE and Liberal International member).
Most members of the late Italian Liberal Party (refounded as a very small party in 2004, see Italian Liberal Party of 2004) and many former Republicans joined Forza Italia, which was often presented and defined in Italy as a liberal party, and the other parties of the House of Freedoms coalition. This is the reason why the term 'liberals' is more often used when speaking of the centre-right, now dominated by Forza Italia successor party The People of Freedom, which tries to combine economic liberalism with freedom of conscience on ethical matters.
Radical Party (1877)
- 1877: Progressive liberals left the Historical Left (Sinistra Storica) and formed the Radical Party (Partito Radicale)
- 1926: The party was banned but many members remained politically active
Italian Republican Party
- 1895: The Mazzinisti organised themselves into the Italian Republican Party (Partito Repubblicano Italiano, PRI)
- 1926-1943: The PRI was banned, but continued its activities in exile
- 1946: A faction of the Action Party, the Republican Democratic Party (Movimento Democratico Repubblicano), joined the party, followed by other members of the PdA
- 2001: The party joined the centre-right House of Freedoms coalition of Silvio Berlusconi
- 2003: A progressive liberal faction formed the European Republicans Movement (Movimento Repubblicani Europei)
- 2011: The European Republicans Movement re-merged with the PRI.
Italian Liberal Party
- 1848: Camillo Benso di Cavour formes a parliamentarty group in the Kingdom of Sardinia Parliament named "Italian Liberal Party" (Partito Liberale Italiano)
- 1922: Conservative liberals, remnants of the Historical Right (Destra Storica), by then called Liberal-Conservatives (Liberal-Conservatori), and members of Giovanni Giolitti's Liberal Left (Sinistra Liberale), which until then acted only as parliamentary factions nor as organised parties, formed the Italian Liberal Party (Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI)
- 1926: The party was banned
- 1943: Renmants of the old liberal current organised themselves in the conservative-liberal Italian Liberal Party (Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI)
- 1994: After the collapse of the party system, the left-wing of the party formed the Federation of Italian Liberals (Federazione dei Liberali Italiani, FdL), the centre-right the Union of the Centre (Unione di Centro, UdC) and the Liberal Party (Partito Liberale, PL), the right-wing the Italian Liberal Right (Destra Liberale Italiana, DLI), which elected some candidates on the electoral list of National Alliance, while many other centrist members joined Forza Italia
- 1996: FdL joined the Democratic Union
- 1998: UdC merged into Forza Italia
- 1999: FdL formed an electoral alliance with the Italian Republican Party
- 2004: Splinters from FdL formed the Association for Liberal Democracy (Associazione per la Democrazia Liberale), which joined Democracy is Freedom, whilst the Liberal Party and the Italian Liberal Right (now called Liberals for Italy, Liberali per l'Italia) re-established the Italian Liberal Party (Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI)
- 2013: the PLI agrees to contest the 2013 general election as party of the With Monti for Italy (Con Monti per l'Italia) electoral coalition.
- 1924: Anti-fascist liberals formed the National Union (Unione Nazionale)
- 1926: The party was banned
- 1942: Liberal and social-democratic elements of the anti-fascist resistance formed the Action Party (Partito d'Azione)
- 1946: The liberal wing of the party formed the Republican Democratic Movement and joined, followed by others, the Italian Republican Party; the party thus disappeared
From Radical Party (1955) to Italian Radicals
- 1955: A progressive liberal faction of the Italian Liberal Party formed the Radical Party (Partito Radicale)
- 1982: The Radical Federative Movement (Movimento Federativo Radicale) splits from the Radicals, later to merge with the Italian Socialist Party.
- 1988: The party was transformed into the Transnational Radical Party
- 1992: The party was re-organised at the Italian-level as Pannella List (Lista Pannella)
- 1999: The party decided to use the title Bonino List (Lista Bonino)
- 2001: After a new re-organisation the party named itself the Italian Radicals (Radicali Italiani)
- 2005: The Italian Radicals joined Italian Democratic Socialists and founded the Rose in the Fist electoral coalition. A faction left and formed the free-market movement, Liberal Reformers (Riformatori Liberali), which became a small faction within Forza Italia and later The People of Freedom.
- 2008: The Italian Radicals contested the 2008 general election allied with the Democratic Party.
- 2009: The Liberal Reformers formally merged into The People of Freedom.
- 2013: The Italian Radicals contest the 2013 general election independently with an electoral list called Amnesty, Justice and Freedom (Giustizia, amnistia e libertà).
- 1993: Forza Italia was founded by the political initiative of Silvio Berlusconi. Most of the PLI members joined Forza Italia alongside many ex-Christian Democrats. Though some members of the party initially joined ELDR, the party as a whole officially joined the European People's Party in December 1999. The party was considered by many as a liberal and Christian-democratic party, and was a staunch supporter of free market.
- 1998: The Union of the Centre merged into Forza Italia
- 2003: Liberals within Forza Italia formed Popular Liberalism (Liberalismo Popolare), a liberal faction
- 2006: Liberal Reformers elect one deputy in Forza Italia's list
- 2007: Silvio Berlusconi announces the creation of The People of Freedom (Il Popolo della Libertà), a party merging Forza Italia with National Alliance and other parties in the House of Freedoms coalition.
- 2009: Forza Italia is finally merged into The People of Freedom.
- 2013: Silvio Berlusconi announces the upcoming revival of Forza Italia on 18 September. The People of Freedom party is finally folded into the new Forza Italia on 16 November.
From Democratic Alliance to Democratic Party
- 1993: The new social-liberal Democratic Alliance (Alleanza Democratica) was formed by the Republicans (which left in early 1994), ex-Socialists, ex-Communists and ex-Christian Democrats
- 1996: The new social-liberal Democratic Union (Unione Democratica) and the centrist Italian Renewal (Rinnovamento Italiano) were launched, and members of Democratic Alliance joined the first
- 1999: The new centrist and social-liberal The Democrats (I Democratici) were formed by the merger of Romano Prodi's supporters (some form the Italian People's Party) with the Democratic Union
- 2002: The Democrats joined Italian Renewal and the Christian-democratic Italian People's Party to form Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (Democrazia è Libertà - La Margherita), a combination of centrists, liberals, and Christian democrats.
- 2007: Former Prime Minister Lamberto Dini breaks from The Daisy and forms the Liberal Democrats, a minor party. Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy joined the social-democratic Democrats of the Left to form the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico).
- 2009: Former members of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy led by Francesco Rutelli break away from the Democratic Party to form the Alliance for Italy (Alleanza per l'Italia).
- 2012: Key members of the Alliance for Italy form Democratic Centre (Centro Democratico) to contest the 2013 general election as part of the Italy. Common Good centre-left coalition with the Democratic Party.
- 2013: On 4 January, Civic Choice (Scelta Civica) was launched an electoral list in support of Mario Monti, the incumbent non-partisan technocrat Prime Minister, to contest the 2013 general election. The partly-list included liberal think-tank Future Italy (Italia Futura), with Civic Choice itself the core of electoral alliance With Monti for Italy (Con Monti per l'Italia).
- 2014: Civic Choice contested the 2014 European election within the European Choice (Scelta Europea) list with Democratic Centre (Centro Democratico) and Stop the Decline (Fermare il Declino) in support of ALDE commission candidate Guy Verhofstadt.
- Before 1861: Alessandro Manzoni, Carlo Cattaneo
- Historical Right / Liberal-Conservatives: Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Sidney Sonnino
- Historical Left / Democrats: Francesco Crispi, Agostino Depretis
- Radical Party (1877): Felice Cavallotti, Ernesto Nathan, Francesco Saverio Nitti
- National Union: Giovanni Amendola
- Liberals / Italian Liberal Party: Giuseppe Zanardelli, Giovanni Giolitti, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Benedetto Croce, Luigi Einaudi, Bruno Villabruna, Manlio Brosio, Leone Cattani, Gaetano Martino, Agostino Bignardi, Bruno Leoni, Giovanni Malagodi
- Italian Republican Party: Ugo La Malfa, Giovanni Spadolini, Giorgio La Malfa
- Radical Party (1955) / Italian Radicals: Marco Pannella, Emma Bonino
- Forza Italia: Silvio Berlusconi, Alfredo Biondi (ex-PLI), Raffaele Costa (ex-PLI), Antonio Martino (ex-PLI), Marcello Pera (ex-PSI, ex-Rad), Giulio Tremonti (ex-PSI), Renato Brunetta (ex-PSI), Benedetto Della Vedova (ex-Rad), Daniele Capezzone (ex-Rad)
- Democratic Party: Antonio Maccanico (ex-PRI), Valerio Zanone (ex-PLI), Francesco Rutelli (ex-Rad, ex-Green), Enzo Bianco (ex-PRI), Paolo Gentiloni (ex-Green), Gianni Vernetti (ex-Green), Linda Lanzillotta (ex-PSI), Beatrice Rangoni Machiavelli (ex-PLI)
In the Contributions to liberal theory the following Italian thinkers are included: