South Tyrolean People's Party
|South Tyrolean People's Party
|Founded||8 May 1945|
|Headquarters||via Brennero 7/A
|Youth wing||Young Generation|
• Christian democracy
• Social democracy
|European affiliation||European People's Party (observer)|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Politics of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
The South Tyrolean People's Party (German: Südtiroler Volkspartei, SVP; Italian: Partito Popolare Sudtirolese) is a regionalist and autonomist ethnic catch-all political party in South Tyrol, northern Italy.
Founded on 8 May 1945, the SVP, a diverse party including Christian democrats, conservatives, social democrats and liberals, represents South Tyrol's German-speaking population, as well as Ladin speakers. From 1948 to 2013 the party retained an absolute majority in the Provincial Council. Its best result was 67.8% in 1948, its worst 45.7% in 2013.
The SVP had long been in alliance with Christian Democracy (and the Italian Socialist Party) until 1994 and later with some of its successor parties, including the Italian People's Party and the Democratic Union of Alto Adige. In 1998 the SVP enlarged the provincial government to the Democrats of the Left. Currently, the SVP governs with the support of the Democratic Party, a social-democratic party formed by the merger of the Democrats of the Left with other centre-left parties.
In 1989 Silvius Magnago, long-time SVP leader and Governor of South Tyrol since 1960, handed his office to Luis Durnwalder, who would keep the post until 2013. Under Durnwalder's long reign, the SVP continued to be the largest party in the Province, garnering more than 50% of the vote in most elections, despite crescent competition, chiefly from right-wing parties. Durnwalder managed to keep the party, often riven in internal disputes between opposing factions, united.
In the 2003 provincial election the SVP won 55.6% of the vote and 21 provincial councillors out of 35. Luis Durnwalder, President of the Province since 1989, was returned for the fourth time in office, at the head of a coalition composed by the Democrats of the Left and the Autonomist Union.
In the 2004 European Parliament election the SVP formed an electoral alliance with The Olive Tree. The party's share of votes fell for the first time down 50%, stopping at 46.7% (–9.3% from 1999, mainly because of the big win of the Greens (13.2%, +6.5%). However Michl Ebner was elected MEP with more than 90,000 preferences and a Green, Sepp Kusstatscher (a former member of the internal left of the SVP), was elected too.
In the 2006 general election the party was part of the winning coalition The Union and garnered three senators and four deputies, which included one for its sister-party in Trentino, the Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party (PATT).
In the 2008 general election the party obtained 44.3% (–9.1% from 2006 and –16.2% from 2001), returning only two deputies, Siegfried Brugger and Karl Zeller. In the Senate election, thanks to the plurality voting system, the SVP got its three senators, Helga Thaler Ausserhofer, Oskar Peterlini and Manfred Pinzger re-elected. This result was due both to the strong showing of The Freedomites (9.4%) on the right and the decision not to enter in alliance for the Chamber of Deputies either with the centre-left led by the Democratic Party (PD, 18.0%) or the centre-right led by The People of Freedom (PdL,16.0%).
Soon after the election, the SVP renewed its alliance with Roberto Nicco, the deputy from Aosta Valley, in the Chamber of Deputies, while forming a group in the Senate with the three senators of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, Antonio Fosson of the Valdotanian Union, Mirella Giai of the Associative Movement Italians Abroad and three senators for life (Giulio Andreotti, Francesco Cossiga and Emilio Colombo).
In the 2008 provincial election the SVP won 48.1% of the vote in the Province (–7.5%), while its right-wing rivals (The Freedomites, South Tyrolean Freedom and Union for South Tyrol) gained a combined 21.5% of the vote. During the electoral campaign the party did not endorse its traditional counterparts in Trentino (the Daisy Civic List/Union for Trentino, UpT, and the PATT), in order not to hurt the relations with Lega Nord, whose Trentino section, Lega Nord Trentino, provided the opposition candidate, Sergio Divina. Despite rumors on an alliance with Lega Nord Alto Adige/Südtirol, after the election the SVP continued its alliance with the PD.
In April 2009 Richard Theiner, a member of the social-democratic Arbeitnehmer wing, was elected party president, due to an agreement between factions. Since then he was assisted by Thomas Widmann (Wirtschaft faction), Martha Stocker and Paola Bioc Gasser. The latter was replaced by Daniel Alfreider in 2012.
The SVP contested the 2013 general election as part of the centre-left coalition, Italy. Common Good. Some long-serving MPs, notably Siegfried Brugger and Helga Thaler Ausserhofer, chose not to run for re-election and the party selected its candidates through a primary election.
In the general election the SVP won 44.2% of the provincial vote (–0.1% from 2008) and, being part of the coalition winning the national majority premium, obtained five deputies: Albrecht Plangger, Renate Gebhard, Daniel Alfreider, PATT's Mauro Ottobre and Manfred Schullian. For the Senate, the SVP ran alone in the constituencies of Merano and Brixen, winning both: in Merano outgoing deputy Karl Zeller took 53.5%, while in Brixen Hans Berger 55.4%. The SVP, in alliance with the PD, the UpT and the PATT, contributed also to the election of centre-left or autonomist candidates in the constituency of Bolzano and in those of Trentino.
On 21 April, in a party primary, the SVP selected Arno Kompatscher as its head of the list for the 2013 provincial election, in place of Durnwalder. Kompatscher, 42-year old mayor of Völs am Schlern, won 82.8% of the vote, while former SVP leader Elmar Pichler Rolle a mere 17.2%.
In the October election the SVP won 45.7% of the vote in the Province (–2.4%) and lost its 65-year long absolute majority. Both the German right-wing parties (whose combined share of the vote was 27.2%, +5.7%) and the Greens (8.7%, +2.9%) gained votes. Kompatscher obtained more than 80,000 preference votes and was set to be appointed Governor by the Provincial Council. Its coalition government will include the PD and, possibly, the Greens.
Ideology and factions
The SVP is an example of catch-all party. Its ideology ranges from Christian democracy to social democracy, due to the virtual absence of a true social-democratic rival party. In German-speaking valleys the SVP has almost no opposition, apart from the The Freedomites, South Tyrolean Freedom and Citizens' Union for South Tyrol on the right and the Greens on the left.
In the years the SVP suffered many splits reflecting the diverse composition of the party (Tyrolean Homeland Party, Social Progressive Party of South Tyrol and Social Democratic Party of South Tyrol) and many SVP leading members left the party in order to join other parties, notably including Alfons Benedikter, a right-winger who launched the Union for South Tyrol in 1989, Christian Waldner, a conservative liberal who launched The Freedomites in 1992, Sepp Kusstatscher, a leftist who joined the Greens in 1999, and finally Roland Atz, a right-winger who switched to Lega Nord Alto Adige/Südtirol in 2008. The Party of Independents/Freedom Party of South Tyrol, the South Tyrolean Homeland Federation, the Union for South Tyrol and The Freedomites can thus be all considered splits of the SVP.
Within the party it is possible to identify three main internal factions:
- Landwirtschaft (Agriculture), representing the interests of farmers; the faction, which had in Luis Durnwalder, Governor from 1989 to 2013, its main representative in government, notably includes Herbert Dorfmann and Hans Berger.
- Wirtschaft (Economy), representing small business; the faction is lead by Gerhard Brandstätter and notably includes Helga Thaler Ausserhofer, a conservative, Manfred Pinzger, Karl Zeller, Thomas Widmann and Dieter Steger; Arno Kompatscher wields strong support among the faction.
- Arbeitnehmer (Labour), the social-democratic faction and political arm of the Union of South Tyrolean Independent Trade Unions (ASGB); the faction, recently led by Reinhold Perkmann, Rosmarie Pamer, and Cristoph Gufler, notably includes Oskar Peterlini, the most lef-wing SVP member in the Italian Parliament so far, Richard Theiner and Renate Gebhard.
Siegfried Brugger and Elmar Pichler Rolle, who led the party in 1992–2004 and 2004–2009 respectively, are centrist figures who worked for preserving party unity. In order to prevent the break-up of the party along right-left lines, in 2008 Perkmann, leader of the Arbeitnhemer, proposed a "federal reform" of the party in order to preserve its catch-all nature and simultaneously give more autonomy to its internal factions, which have now an official status in party organization. The result was a mild reform of the party and the election to the party leadership in 2009 of a ticket composed by a leading member of the Arbeitnehmer, Richard Theiner, and a leading member of the Wirtschaft faction, Thomas Widmann, plus Martha Stocker, a close ally of Durnwalder.
The factional divisions between party members were reflected also on the vote of confidence on the Berlusconi IV Cabinet: Pinzger and Thaler Ausserhofer abstained, while Brugger, Zeller and Peterlini voted against. This kind of divisions continued during the legislature, with senators, excluding Peterlini, supporting some of the government's policies and deputies often opposing the same measures.
The electoral results of the SVP in South Tyrol since 1992 are shown in the table below.
|1992 general||1993 provinc.||1994 general||1994 European||1996 general||1998 provinc.||1999 European||2001 general||2003 provinc.||2004 European||2006 general||2008 general||2008 provinc.||2009 European||2013 general||2013 provinc.|
- President: Erich Amonn (1945–1948), Josef Menz-Popp (1948–1951), Toni Ebner (1951–1952), Otto von Guggenberg (1952–1954), Karl Tinzl (1954–1956), Toni Ebner (1956–1957), Silvius Magnago (1957–1991), Roland Riz (1991–1992), Siegfried Brugger (1992–2004), Elmar Pichler Rolle (2004–2009), Richard Theiner (2009–present)
- Honorary President: Silvius Magnago (1991–2010)
- Secretary: Josef Raffeiner (1945–1947), Otto von Guttenberg (1947–1952), Albuin Forer (1952–1953), Vinzenz Stötter (1953–1954), Ivo Perathoner (1954–1957), Hans Stanek (1957–1965), Josef Atz (1965–1978), Bruno Hosp (1978–1989), Hartmann Gallmetzer (1989–1997), Thomas Widmann, (1997–2004), Michael Mühlberger (2004), Alexander Mittermair (2004–2009), Philipp Achammer (2009–2013), Martin Alber (2013–present)
- Rolf Steininger (2003). South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century. Transaction Publishers. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-1-4128-3482-7. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- NAZIONALE - 6] STAMPA/INTERNI/03<UNTITLED> ... 28/09/03
- Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
- Durk Gorter; Heiko F. Marten; Luk Van Mensel (15 January 2012). Minority Languages in the Linguistic Landscape. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-0-230-27244-6.
- Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 389–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4.
- Jens Woelk; Francesco Palermo; Joseph Marko (2008). Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights In South Tyrol. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 309–. ISBN 978-90-04-16302-7.
- Maurizio Cotta; Luca Verzichelli (2007). Political Institutions in Italy. Oxford University Press. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-0-19-928470-2. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Daniel Alfreider neuer SVP-Obmannstellvertreter". Südtirol Online (stol.it). 2012-03-24. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Frau Helga alla buvette con Dell' Utri: la manovra così non va".
- "I dubbi di Helga, sudtirolese con il "divo Giulio" nel cuore - Corriere della Sera".
- "Alleanza nazionale – il Popolo della Libertà ribadisce i suoi due obiettivi storici: riportare la questione altoatesina fra i temi dell’azione di Governo nazionale e imporsi c...".
- "Legislatura 16º - Aula - Resoconto stenografico della seduta n. 005 del 15/05/2008".
- "Stenografico Assemblea - Sed. n. 5 di mercoledì 14 maggio 2008 - 16^ Legislatura".
- This result refers to single-seat constituencies, as the SVP did not present its own party list for proportional representation, but was part of the list of the Italian People's Party (PPI), along with some other minor parties, at the national level. This list won only 27.9% in the Province of Bolzano.
- History of 60 years of the SVP, 1945–2005
- Provincial Council of Bolzano – Historical Archive
- Trentino Alto-Adige Region – Elections
- Provincial Government of Bolzano – Elections
- Cattaneo Institute – Archive of Election Data
- Parties and Elections in Europe – Province of Bolzano
- Ministry of the Interior – Historical Archive of Elections
- Günther Pallaver, Political parties in Alto Adige from 1945 to 2005
- Anton Holzer, Die Südtiroler Volkspartei, Kulturverlag, Thaur (Tyrol) 1991, ISBN 978-3-85395-157-6
- Joachim Goller, Die Brixner Richtungen. Die Südtiroler Volkspartei, das katholische Lager und der Klerus, Studienverlag, Innsbruck/Wien/Bozen 2007, ISBN 978-3-7065-4230-2