New Italian Socialist Party
|New Italian Socialist Party|
|Founded||20 January 2001|
|Headquarters||Via di Torre Argentina, 47
|European Parliament group||none|
|Politics of Italy
The New Italian Socialist Party (Italian: Nuovo Partito Socialista Italiano, NPSI) is a small political party in Italy which professes a social-democratic ideology and claims to be the successor to the historical Italian Socialist Party, which was disbanded after the judiciary tempest of the early 1990s (see Mani pulite). The party functions as an associate party or internal faction of the main party of the Italian centre-right, The People of Freedom (PdL).
Most of the party's members are former followers of Bettino Craxi, whom they often portray as a victim of political persecution, notwithstanding the many convictions that Craxi received on corruption charges. That was why the party has been an ally of the centre-right House of Freedoms coalition for most of its history, as the centre-left was dominated by former Communists who were the main opponents of the Socialists, so that most of them had earlier joined Forza Italia.
The main leader of the party was Gianni De Michelis, who however left the party in 2007, being replaced by Stefano Caldoro. In 2007 several members left to join the centre-left Socialist Party, while what remained of the NPSI was merged into the centre-right PdL. Since 2010, the party leader Caldoro has been President of Campania for the PdL.
The party was founded in 2001 by the merger of the Socialist Party of Gianni De Michelis, the Socialist League of Claudio Martelli and Bobo Craxi (son of Bettino), who had been founding members of the Italian Democratic Socialists in 1998, other splinters of that party, as Mauro Del Bue, and former members of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party.
2001 general election
At its founding congress, the NPSI decided to enter the centre-right House of Freedoms (CdL) coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, a former friend of Bettino Craxi, as the centre-left was considered too compromised with the Mani pulite investigation, upon which the old PSI was disbanded while the ex-Communists were not touched.
The centre-right won the 2001 general election and Berlusconi appointed Stefano Caldoro, a young Socialist, as deputy minister for Education in his government. In the election, the NPSI gained just 1.0% of the vote and had three deputies (Craxi, Vincenzo Milioto and Chiara Moroni) and one senator (Franco Crinò) elected in single-seat constituencies. Party secretary De Michelis and spokesperson Martelli were not elected since the party failed to pass the 4% threshold.
2004 European Parliament election
At the 2004 European Parliament election, the NPSI formed an alliance with small social-democratic movements and parties such as Socialist Unity, founded and headed by Claudio Signorile. The list, named Socialists United for Europe, gained 2.0% of the vote, and two MEPs, De Michelis and Alessandro Battilocchio. In Calabria the list gained 7.0%, the highest result ever for the party. The party was denied membership of the PES Group and the two NPSI MEPs sat as Non-Inscrits. They eventually joined the Party of European Socialists in October 2007 as members of the newly formed Socialist Party.
At the 2005 regional elections the NPSI ran its lists as part of the CdL. In Calabria, the party's stronghold, it received 5.4%. However, the CdL lost 12 regions out of 14, forcing Berlusconi to reshuffle cabinet. In the new government Caldoro was promoted minister.
De Michelis vs. Craxi
In October 2005 a national congress was held in Rome in order to deliberate the political line to be held by the party, particularly about electoral coalitions. During the congress, which was characterised by a heated atmosphere and several controversies, Craxi, who supported a "unity towards left" within The Union and an immediate retirement from Berlusconi's government, challenged De Michelis, who instead asked the congress to delay the decision.
De Michelis received support from Caldoro, Maroni and Alessandro Battilocchio, whereas Craxi was supported by Milioto, Crinò and Saverio Zavettieri, the powerful Calabrian leader of the party. At some point, De Michelis unrecognised the congress, declaring it had never been officially opened, and abandoned it with all of his supporters. The remaining delegates thus elected Craxi secretary. Later, the Tribunal of Rome nullified the congress's outcome.
2006 general election
Craxi's faction abandoned the party immediately after the sentence, was re-organised into The Italian Socialists and joined The Union. De Michelis, after winning the legal dispute for the symbol and the leadership of the NPSI, led the party into an alliance with Gianfranco Rotondi's Christian Democracy for Autonomies (DCA).
The DCA-NPSI list gained a mere 0.7% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies and 0.6% for the Senate. It still had six deputies elected because as the list that received more votes under the 2% threshold in its alliance, the CdL. Of these, two were of the NPSI: Lucio Barani and Del Bue. Two more candidates were elected as candidates of Forza Italia (Moroni and Giovanni Ricevuto), however they abandoned the party in May, fearing that it was heading out of the centre-right coalition. Nonetheless the NPSI and its two MPs formed a joint parliamentary group with DCA comprising six MPs in total, which made it a minimal force in Parliament.
Caldoro vs. De Michelis
In June 2007 the party split among those who wanted to participate to the foundation of the Socialist Party along with the Italian Democratic Socialists of Enrico Boselli, The Italian Socialists of Craxi and the Association for the Rose in the Fist of Lanfranco Turci and those who wanted to maintain the allegiance to the CdL coalition. The first group was led by De Michelis, the second by Caldoro.
From July to October the party had two secretaries, elected in two separate congresses: on 24 June Caldoro was elected secretary of the right-wing faction of the party, while on 7 July Del Bue replaced De Michelis as leader of those Socialists who wanted to participate in the foundation of a new Socialist Party, whose first meeting took place on 14 July 2007. After the split, both groups had a deputy: Mauro Del Bue for the NPSI–De Michelis and Barani for the NPSI–Caldoro.
In October, after a consensual separation between the two groups and the foundation of the Socialist Party by Boselli, De Michelis, Craxi, Turci and splinters from Democratic Left (including Gavino Angius and Valdo Spini), the group of De Michelis changed name into Socialist Party (coherently with name of the future party), while the group of Caldoro retained the party's name and decided to change the symbol. Since that moment the only NPSI was that led by Caldoro, who announced that its party was interested in joining The People of Freedom (PdL) along with Forza Italia and National Alliance.
The People of Freedom
At the 2008 general election NPSI got two deputies re-elected in the lists of the PdL: Caldoro and Barani. In March 2009 the party was merged into the PdL, but has retained some of its autonomy. In the 2010 Campania regional election Caldoro was elected President by a landslide.
Following his election, Caldoro stepped down from party secretary and was succeeded by Barani. Caldoro was then elected party president.
- Secretary: Gianni De Michelis (2001–2007), Stefano Caldoro (2007–2011), Lucio Barani (2011–present)
- Deputy Secretary: Bobo Craxi (2002–2005), Mauro Del Bue (2003–2006), Chiara Moroni (2005–2006), Alessandro Battilocchio (2006–2007), Francesco Pizzo (2006–2007), Franco Spedale (2007–2010), Franco Caruso (2007–2011), Adolfo Collice (2007–2011), Francesco Pizzo (2010–present), Laura Schianchi (2011–present)
- Spokesman: Claudio Martelli (2001–2002), Bobo Craxi (2002–2005), Chiara Moroni (2005–2006), Mauro Del Bue (2006–2007)
- President: Bobo Craxi (2001–2002), Vincenzo Milioto (2002–2005), Stefano Caldoro (2011–present)
- President of the National Council: Francesco Pizzo (2005–2007), Roberto Scheda (2007–present)
- Coordinator: Stefano Caldoro (2006–2007), Antonino Di Trapani (2007–present)
- Treasurer: Lucio Barani (2007–2011), Massimo Lofaro (2011–present)