Socialist Party (Italy, 1996–2001)

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The Socialist Party (Partito Socialista, PS) was a tiny social-democratic party in Italy.

It was founded in 1996 by a group of former members of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), who had been close allies of Bettino Craxi, leader of the PSI from 1976 to 1992. They included Ugo Intini, Enrico Manca, Gianni De Michelis, Fabrizio Cicchitto, Margherita Boniver, Donato Robilotta and Bettino's son, Bobo.[1][2] Some of them had been active in the Reform Socialist Party (PSR) from 1994 to 1996.[3] At the 1996 general election the PS, through the "Socialists for Freedom" list, won 0.5% for the Chamber of Deputies and, with a symbol styled after the one of the PSI, 0.9% for the Senate (2.8% in Campania, 3.3% in Calabria and 1.5% in Sicily).[4]

In 1997 Intini was replaced as secretary by De Michelis, who represented the right-wing of the party and wanted to form an alliance with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI).[5][6] This eventually led in 1998 of a split: Intini and his followers joined the Italian Socialists (SI) and other former Socialists in forming the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI).[7] Bobo Craxi, along with his Socialist League (LS), another spin-off of the PS, joined the SDI for the 1999 European Parliament election too. Following that election, Cicchitto and Boniver joined FI, which had become the main home of former Socialists, instead.[8]

In the PS was merged with the Socialist League and other splinter groups from the SDI to form the New Italian Socialist Party (NPSI). De Michelis was elected secretary of the new party upon its foundation, which was viewed by many as the direct continuation of the PS.

The party was particularly strong in Sicily, where its regional section, the Sicilian Socialist Party (PSS), was led by Filippo Fiorino. In the 1996 Sicilian regional election the party gained 1.9% of the vote[9] and three regional deputies: Salvatore Cintola (who soon left the party for the United Christian Democrats, CDU), Giovanni Ricevuto and Nunzio Calanna.[10] At the 1999 European Parliament election the PSS won 1.5% of the vote in Sicily.[11]

Leadership[edit]

References[edit]