Communist Refoundation Party

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Communist Refoundation Party
Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
Secretary Paolo Ferrero
Founder Armando Cossutta
Founded 12 December 1991
Split from Democratic Party of the Left
Headquarters via del Policlinico 131
00161 Rome
Newspaper Liberazione
Youth wing Young Communists
Membership  (2013) 32,901[1]
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
National affiliation Progressives (1994–95)
Olive Tree (external support, 1996–98)
The Union (2005–08)
SA (2008)
FdS (2009–12)
RC (2012–13)
AET (2014)
European affiliation Party of the European Left
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
(1995–2009, 2014–present)
Colours      Red
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 630
Senate
0 / 315
European Parliament
1 / 73
Website
www.rifondazione.it

The Communist Refoundation Party (Italian: Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, PRC) is a communist party in Italy.

The party participates in the Party of the European Left (of which Fausto Bertinotti, a former PRC leader, was the first president). Its member in the European Parliament sits with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group.

The party's current secretary is Paolo Ferrero, a former minister in Prodi II Cabinet.

History[edit]

In 1991, when the Italian Communist Party (PCI), led by Achille Occhetto, became the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), dissidents led by Armando Cossutta launched the PRC. In the same year Proletarian Democracy (DP), a far-left outfit, merged into the new party, which aimed to unite all Italian communists.

The first secretary of the PRC was Sergio Garavini, who resigned in June 1993 and was replaced by Fausto Bertinotti, a trade unionist from the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) who had left the PDS only some months before.

The leadership of Bertinotti was a turning point for the party, which jumped to 8.6% of vote in the 1996 general election, which the party fought in a loose alliance with The Olive Tree centre-left coalition. The PRC supported Romano Prodi's first cabinet until 1998, when it turned to opposition and the government lost its majority in Parliament. However, this decision was divisive also in Bertinotti's camp, where a group of dissidents, led by party president Armando Cossutta, split and founded a rival communist outfit, the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI), which joined Massimo D'Alema's first cabinet.

In October 2004 the PRC re-joined the centre-left coalition, again led by Prodi, and in April 2005 Nichi Vendola, an openly gay politician and one of the emerging leaders of the party, won a primary election and was elected President of traditionally conservative Apulia region. He was the only regional President ever belonging to the PRC.

After the 2006 general election, in which centre-left The Union coalition won narrowly over the centre-right House of Freedoms, Bertinotti was elected President of the Chamber of Deputies and replaced by Franco Giordano as party secretary. The PRC joined the Prodi II Cabinet, which included Paolo Ferrero, a long-time PRC member, as Minister of Social Solidarity.

The decision to participate in the centre-left coalition government and the party's decision to vote to refinance the Italian military presence in Afghanistan and send troops to Lebanon attracted criticism from other sections of the European far left[2] and provoked the splits of many groups, notably the Communist Workers' Party, the Communist Alternative Party and Critical Left.

In December 2007 the party participated in the creation of The Left – The Rainbow (SA) with the PdCI, the Federation of the Greens (FdV), and Democratic Left (SD). The electoral list was defeated in the 2008 general election, when it gained 3.1% of the vote (compared to 10.2% won by the composite parties individually two years before), and quickly disbanded.

In April 2008 a group of former Bertinottiani, composed primarily of former DP members skeptical of the SA alliance, led by Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena, allied with other minority factions and forced Giordano to resign. At the July congress the internal left-wing prevailed over Bertinottiani and Ferrero was elected secretary. He was supported by a bare majority (53%) of the party delegates, and the PRC remained divided around factional and regional lines with Vendola, the standard-bearer of Bertinottiani, accusing northern delegates of having absorbed leghismo and stating that "it was the end of the party I knew".[3]

In January 2009 the faction around Vendola and Giordano, silently supported by Bertinotti, decided to leave the party and transform their faction into a party under the name Movement for the Left (MpS). The goal of MpS was to form a new party with other left-wing groups.[4] This party became Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) in 2010. Some RpS members, including Augusto Rocchi, Giusto Catania, Milziade Caprili and Tommaso Sodano, chose to stay in the party[5] and re-organised themselves as To the Left with Refoundation.[6]

After the split of RpS/MpS, the PRC formed a joint list known as Anticapitalist List with the PdCI, Socialism 2000 and United Consumers for the 2009 European Parliament election.[7] The list received 3.4% of the vote and failed to return any MEPs. In December 2009 the List was transformed into Federation of the Left (FdS).[8][9] The FdS held its first congress on 20–21 November 2010.[10][11]

In the 2013 general election the PRC was part of the Civil Revolution coalition, which obtained 2.2% of the vote and no seats.[12]

In the 2014 European Parliament election the PRC was part of The Other Europe electoral list, with which it re-gained a seat.

Factions[edit]

A PRC rally in Rome, 2007.
PRC headquarters in Castello, Venice.

The majority of the party following the October 2004 congress was led by Fausto Bertinotti (59.2%) and viewed the PRC as the representative of the anti-globalization movement in Italy. Other factions opposed the line traced by Bertinotti: the hardline communists of Being Communists (26.2%), what remained of the late faction led by Armando Cossutta, and the Trotskyists of Critical Left, Communist Project and HammerSickle (14.6% together).

Communist Project, which opposed the party's participation in The Union and the Prodi II Cabinet, unfolded shortly after the 2006 general election: a group led by Marco Ferrando formed the Communist Workers' Party, others led by Francesco Ricci formed the Communist Alternative Party, and a tiny minority chose to stay in the party and launched Countercurrent.

In February 2007 Franco Turigliatto, a senator from the Critical Left (led by Salvatore Cannavò), voted twice against the government's foreign policy, leading Romano Prodi to temporarily resign from Prime Minister. In April Turigliatto was expelled from the party and Critical Left was suspended from it (it would be established as a party in December). Turigliatto's ejection was supported also by Claudio Grassi, leader of Being Communists, and this caused a break-up of the faction, with a group, led by Fosco Giannini, who launched an alternative faction named The Ernesto, without leaving the party.

In April 2008, following the severe defeat of the party in the 2008 general election, a group of former Bertinottiani, composed mainly of former members of Proletarian Democracy and led by Paolo Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena, allied with the other minority factions, notably including Being Communists, to force secretary Franco Giordano to resign. Subsequently, in the July congress, the Refoundation in Movement motion by Ferrero and Grassi (40.1%) faced the bulk of Bertinottiani, who organized themselves around the motion titled "Manifesto for the Refoundation" (47.6%) with Nichi Vendola as standard-bearer. Giannini's The Ernesto and Countercurrent (7.7%), Claudio Bellotti's HammerSickle (3.2%) and a minor group of former Bertinottiani called "Disarm, Renew, Refound" (1.5%) decided to join forces with the Ferrero-Grassi group. Vendola, defeated by Ferrero, announced the creation of a new minority faction, Refoundation for the Left (RpS).[3][13]

In January 2009 RpS left the party to form the Movement for the Left (MpS), but some of its members, led by Augusto Rocchi, decided to stay in the PRC and launched To the Left with Refoundation.

Popular support[edit]

The electoral results of the PRC in the 10 most populated regions of Italy are shown in the table below.[14]

Since 2006 the party has run in alliance with the Party of Italian Communists. The 2006 result refers to that of The Left – The Rainbow, a joint list comprising also Democratic Left and the Federation of the Greens. The 2014 result refers to that of The Other Europe, a joint list including also Left Ecology Freedom.

1994 general 1995 regional 1996 general 1999 European 2000 regional 2001 general 2004 European 2005 regional 2006 general 2008 general 2009 European 2010 regional 2013 general 2014 European
Piedmont 5.9 9.3 10.3 4.6 5.5 5.9 6.6 6.4 5.9 3.4 3.3 2.6 2.1 4.1
Lombardy 5.1 7.7 6.8 4.0 6.4 5.0 5.6 5.7 5.5 2.9 2.7 2.0 1.6 3.5
Veneto 4.4 5.0 5.3 2.8 3.0 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.9 2.2 1.8 1.6 1.3 2.8
Emilia-Romagna 6.6 7.6 8.3 5.0 5.8 5.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 3.0 3.1 2.8 1.9 4.1
Tuscany 10.1 11.1 12.5 7.4 6.7 6.9 9.1 8.2 8.2 4.5 5.1 5.3 2.7 5.1
Lazio 6.6 9.2 10.4 4.9 5.4 5.2 7.1 5.9 7.4 3.3 3.7 2.7 2.6 4.7
Campania 6.9 9.2 9.1 4.0 3.8 4.8 6.0 4.1 6.1 2.7 3.8 1.6 2.6 3.8
Apulia 7.0 8.1 7.5 3.3 3.6 4.7 6.0 5.1 5.7 3.0 3.3 3.3 2.4 4.3
Calabria 9.3 8.7 10.0 4.3 3.0 3.4 5.8 5.1 6.0 3.2 6.7 4.0 2.9 4.2
Sicily - 4.3 (1996) 7.0 2.2 2.4 (2001) 3.2 3.6 - (2006)[15] 3.2 2.6 2.2 4.9 (2008) 3.4 3.6
ITALY 6.1 - 8.6 4.3 - 5.0 6.1 - 5.8 3.1 3.4 - 2.2 4.0

Election results[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 2,202,574 (#5) 5.6
35 / 630
Sergio Garavini
1994 2,334,029 (#6) 6.0
39 / 630
Increase 4
Fausto Bertinotti
1996 3,215,960 (#5) 8.5
35 / 630
Decrease 4
Fausto Bertinotti
2001 1,868,659 (#5) 5.0
11 / 630
Decrease 24
Fausto Bertinotti
2006 2,229,604 (#5) 5.8
41 / 630
Increase 30
Fausto Bertinotti
2008 1,124,298 (#6) 3.1
0 / 630
Decrease 41
Fausto Bertinotti
2013 765,188 (#7) 2.2
0 / 630
Paolo Ferrero
Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 2,163,317 (#5) 6.5
20 / 315
Sergio Garavini
1994 with Progressives
18 / 315
Decrease 2
Fausto Bertinotti
1996 934,974 (#4) 2.9
11 / 315
Decrease 7
Fausto Bertinotti
2001 1,708,707 (#3) 5.0
5 / 315
Decrease 6
Fausto Bertinotti
2006 2,518,624 (#5) 7.4
27 / 315
Increase 22
Fausto Bertinotti
2008 1,053,154 (#6) 3.3
0 / 315
Decrease 27
Fausto Bertinotti
2013 549.995 (#8) 1.8
0 / 315
Paolo Ferrero

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1994 1,991,977 (#6) 6.1
5 / 87
Fausto Bertinotti
1999 1,330,341 (#4) 4.3
4 / 87
Decrease 1
Fausto Bertinotti
2004 1,971,700 (#7) 6.0
5 / 78
Increase 1
Fausto Bertinotti
2009 1,038,247 (#6) 3.4
0 / 72
Decrease 5
Paolo Ferrero
2014 1,103,203° (#6) 4.0
1 / 73
Increase 1
Paolo Ferrero

°The PRC was part of The Other Europe list and obtained one of the three seats gained by the list.

Regional Councils[edit]

Region Latest election # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
Abruzzo 2014 20,221 (#8) 3.0
0 / 31
Apulia 2015 14,513 (#12) 0.9
0 / 51
Basilicata 2013 12,204 (#7) 5.6
1 / 21
Calabria 2014 10,062 (#15) 1.3
0 / 30
Campania 2015 53,000 (#11) 2.3
0 / 51
Emilia-Romagna 2014 44,676 (#5) 3.7
1 / 50
Lazio 2013 58,685 (#9) 2.1
0 / 51
Marche 2015 20,266 (#8) 3.8
0 / 31
Piedmont 2014 19,467 (#11) 1.0
0 / 50
Sardinia 2014 13,892 (#15) 2.0
2 / 60
Sicily 2012 58,753 (#12) 3.0
0 / 90
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 2013 3,880 (#23) 0.7
0 / 70
Umbria 2015 5,561 (#11) 1.6
0 / 21
Veneto 2015 13,997 (#15) 0.8
0 / 51

Symbols[edit]

Leadership[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]