Clemente Mastella

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Clemente Mastella
Clemente Mastella 2020.jpg
Mayor of Benevento
Assumed office
20 June 2016
Preceded byFausto Pepe
Minister of Justice
In office
17 May 2006 – 16 January 2008
Prime MinisterRomano Prodi
Preceded byRoberto Castelli
Succeeded byRomano Prodi
Minister of Labour and Social Security
In office
10 May 1994 – 17 January 1995
Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi
Preceded byGino Giugni
Succeeded byTiziano Treu
Member of the European Parliament
for Southern Italy
In office
14 July 2009 – 1 July 2014
In office
20 July 1999 – 20 July 2004
Member of the Senate of the Republic
In office
28 April 2006 – 28 April 2008
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
5 July 1976 – 27 April 2006
Personal details
Mario Clemente Mastella

(1947-02-05) 5 February 1947 (age 75)
Ceppaloni, Italy
Political partyDC (1976–1994)
CDC (1994–1998)
CDR (1998)
UDR (1998–1999)
UDEUR (1999–2013)
FI (2013–2015; 2018–2020)
PpS (2015–2017)
UDEUR 2.0 (2017–2018)
NC (2020–2021)
NDC (since 2021)
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Sandra Lonardo
(m. 1975)

Mario Clemente Mastella (born 5 February 1947) is an Italian politician who has served as the mayor of Benevento since 20 June 2016. He is the leader of Union of Democrats for Europe, a minor centrist Italian party. He was Minister of Labour in the Berlusconi government from 10 May 1994 to 17 January 1995 and Minister of Justice in the Prodi government from 17 May 2006 to 17 January 2008.

He was also elected to the European Parliament in June 2009 on the list of The People of Freedom of Berlusconi.

Political career[edit]

Mastella was born in Ceppaloni, in the province of Benevento. In 1976 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the Christian Democracy party. After the party's dissolution in 1994, Mastella joined with Pierferdinando Casini to found a new party, called Centro Cristiano Democratico. That same year, following the election victory of Silvio Berlusconi, he was appointed Minister of Labour.

In 1998, after the fall of Romano Prodi's first government, Mastella decided to follow Francesco Cossiga, lifetime senator and former Italian Republic President. He left his party to found the Christian Democrats for the Republic, then Democratic Union for the Republic. This new political party, which supported the new centre-left government led by Massimo D'Alema, lasted only one year. In 1999, Mastella took over the leadership of UDEUR.

In 2005, Mastella took part in the primary election for the leadership of The Union. He obtained 4.6% of the vote.

Clemente Mastella and the President of the Sicilian Region Salvatore Cuffaro were subjects of a scandal when it was revealed that they had been the best men of Francesco Campanella, a former member of the Mafia who helped the boss Bernardo Provenzano when he was a fugitive from the law. In July 2000, Mastella was a witness at Campanella's wedding.[1]

In 2016 he became mayor of the city of Benevento.[2]

Minister of Justice[edit]

In 2006, Mastella became minister of Justice in the Prodi government. Mastella promoted a general amnesty in 2006. He also proposed criminalising Holocaust denial, but he dropped the proposal after opposition by historians and concerns about such law being unconstitutional.

As Minister of Justice, Mastella received an "Advice of Judicial Proceedings" in February 2007 from the Naples prosecutors’ office. He is being investigated for fraudulent bankruptcy when the Naples football club S.S.C. Napoli collapsed in 2004. Mastella was vice president of the Board of Directors.

In September 2007 he has asked the Higher Council of the Magistracy to arrange the transfer of the prosecuting attorney of Catanzaro Luigi De Magistris, who was inquiring on a committee of illegal transactions composed by politicians (including Mastella himself) and magistrates.

In May 2007, Mastella started a blog of his own ( in retaliation to criticism by the Italian comedian and political activist Beppe Grillo.

Mastella's wife, Sandra Lonardo, is also a UDEUR politician, and she acts as president of the Regional Council of Campania. She has been under house arrest for suspected bribery since 16 January 2008.[3] Meanwhile, Clemente Mastella resigned from his position as Justice Minister;[4] in announcing his resignation, he said that "between the love of my family and power I choose the former" and expressed his desire to be "more free from a political and personal point of view". Prodi rejected the resignation,[5] but on 17 January Mastella said again that he was resigning. Prodi was to temporarily take over his portfolio.[6] In 2017 Mastella was cleared of charges.[7]

2008 Italian political crisis[edit]

Despite having earlier said that he would support Prodi's government without participating in it, on 21 January 2008, Mastella said that his party was ending its support, thereby depriving the government of its narrow majority in the Senate. Mastella said that UDEUR wanted an early election and that it would vote against the government if there was a vote of confidence.[8][9]

Mastella's decision occurred a few days after a decision by the Constitutional Court which confirmed that there would be a referendum to modify the electoral system.[10] As stated many times by Mastella, if the referendum was confirmed this would lead directly to the fall of the government[11][12] and in fact this is what happened.

The fall of the government disrupted a pending election-law referendum that, if it had been passed, would have made it harder for small parties like Mastella's to gain seats in parliament.[13]

On 6 February 2008, Mastella announced that he would be part of Silvio Berlusconi's Casa delle Libertà.[14] but on 1 March Berlusconi refused to form a coalition with Mastella, citing too many differences in their political programmes.[15]

After failing to secure a coalition with any other political party, Mastella decided to quit the electoral competition on 7 March, as the Italian electoral system subjects political parties not a part of a coalition to thresholds of 4% and 8% for the Chamber and the Senate, respectively.[16]

European Parliament[edit]

He was elected to the European Parliament in June 2009 on the list of Berlusconi's The People of Freedom party. In July 2009 he was quoted in the Italian because of statements made about the per diem collected at the European Parliament: "An allowance of 290 euro!" - he said in a lift to his assistants - "'It's misery. ... They do not know what you get in the Italian Parliament".[17] In the first months of the current legislature (2009-2014) of the European Parliament he was one of the MEPs less present during voting in plenary meetings.[18]

Mayor of Benevento[edit]

On 20 June 2016, Mastella was elected mayor of Benevento as head of a centre-right coalition.

On 3 June 2020, he left Forza Italia to create a regional list named Noi Campani (We Campanians) in support of centre-left incumbent president Vincenzo De Luca for his re-election campaign.


  1. ^ Italian justice minister linked to mafia inquiry, The Guardian, 18 May 2006.
  2. ^ "Consenso sindaci | Mastella | "Grazie ai beneventani | stiamo andando nella direzione giusta"". 4 July 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  3. ^ (in Italian) Domiciliari alla moglie di Mastella, La Repubblica, 16 January 2008.
  4. ^ (in Italian) Mastella: 'Caccia all'uomo, mi dimetto', La Repubblica, 16 January 2008.
  5. ^ "Italian justice minister resigns", BBC News, 16 January 2008.
  6. ^ "Italian PM to temporarily take over justice minister's portfolio", Xinhua, 17 January 2008.
  7. ^ "Clemente Mastella assolto dall'inchiesta che nove anni fa causò la caduta del Governo Prodi". 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Mastella to Drop Support for Prodi, Favors Elections (Update1)", Bloomberg, 21 January 2008.
  9. ^ "Italy PM in cabinet crisis talks", BBC News, 21 January 2008.
  10. ^ "Italian court okays referendum on election law", Reuters, 1 January 2008.
  11. ^ "Legge elettorale, Mastella minaccia la crisi", Corriere della Sera, 10 April 2007.
  12. ^ "Mastella: Se c'è referendum si rischia la crisi di governo" Archived 28 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine La Stampa, 10 April 2007.
  13. ^ "Prodi Likely to Quit, Prompt Vote or Election Reform" Bloomberg, 24 January 2008.
  14. ^ (in Italian) Castelli: «La Lega non vuole Mastella», Corriere della Sera, 6 February 2008.
  15. ^ (in Italian) Berlusconi chiude con Mastella, La Repubblica, 1 March 2008.
  16. ^ (in Italian) La resa di Mastella «Non mi presento», La Repubblica, 7 March 2008.
  17. ^ (in Italian) "Una miseria questi 290 euro", Mastella protesta per la diaria, La Repubblica, 15 July 2009.
  18. ^ (in Italian) Settima legislatura - Presenze al voto in plenaria Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Delegazione Italiana del gruppo PPE al Parlamento Europeo

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies
1994 – 1995
Succeeded by
Preceded by Italian Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Romano Prodi ad interim
Italian Chamber of Deputies
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

1976 – 2006
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senate
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Senate

2006 – 2008
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Party political offices
Preceded by
New Party
Secretary of UDEUR
1999 – 2013
Succeeded by
Party disbanded