Free and Equal (Italy)

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Free and Equal

Liberi e Uguali
LeaderPietro Grasso
Founded3 December 2017; 14 months ago (2017-12-03)
IdeologySocial democracy[1][2]
Democratic socialism[1][3][4]
Eco-socialism[1]
Political positionLeft-wing
European affiliationNone
European Parliament groupS&D (5)
GUE–NGL (1)
Chamber of Deputies
14 / 630
Senate
4 / 315
European Parliament
6 / 73
Regional Presidents
1 / 20
Regional
Councils
32 / 897
Website
liberieuguali.it

Free and Equal (Italian: Liberi e Uguali, LeU) is a left-wing federation of political parties in Italy. It was launched on 3 December 2017 by the Democratic and Progressive Movement, Italian Left and Possible. The leader of the alliance for the 2018 general election was Pietro Grasso, former President of the Senate and former anti-Mafia prosecutor.

The three founding parties have since left the alliance, but LeU continues to exist as a parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies and a sub-group in the Senate.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Since the 2013 leadership election of the Democratic Party (PD) in which Matteo Renzi (a centrist) was elected secretary, the party was riven by an internal struggle between Renzi's large majority (composed of renziani, assorted centrists and moderate social democrats) and the left-wing factions which were very critical of Renzi, his government (2014–2016) and his proposed constitutional reform, which was finally voted down in a constitutional referendum in December 2016.

After the splits of Possible (P) and Future to the Left (FaS), Enrico Rossi (leader of the Democratic Socialists faction and President of Tuscany) and Roberto Speranza (leader of Reformist Area and former PD leader in the Chamber of Deputies) became the leaders of the PD's internal left. They were backed by former DS and PD leaders Massimo D'Alema, Pier Luigi Bersani and Guglielmo Epifani. Rossi and Speranza criticised Renzi on many of his policies and were initially joined by Michele Emiliano, President of Apulia.[5][6] In February 2017, the dissidents (except Emiliano, who stayed in the PD and would unsuccessfully challenge Renzi in the upcoming 2017 leadership election), and a group of SI splinters led by Arturo Scotto (a former DS member too) launched the Democratic and Progressive Movement (MDP), a month after the merger of Left Ecology Freedom (SEL), FaS and minor groups into Italian Left (SI).[7][8][9]

Road to the new alliance[edit]

Soon after the foundation of the MDP, Roberto Speranza (MDP coordinator), Nicola Fratoianni (SI secretary) and Giuseppe Civati (P secretary) discussed the opportunity of forming a left-wing coalition as an alternative to the centre-left led by the PD, the centre-right and the Five Star Movement.[10]

In the 2017 Sicilian regional election, the three left-wing parties, along with the Communist Refoundation Party, other parties and groups, ran in a joint list named One Hundred Steps for Sicily with Claudio Fava for President. Fava won 6.2% of the vote, the list 5.2% and only Fava was elected deputy in the Regional Assembly.[11]

During a convention in Rome on 3 December 2017, the MDP–SI–P alliance was officially established as Free and Equal (LeU) and Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate and former anti-Mafia prosecutor, was appointed leader and candidate for Prime Minister in the 2018 general election.[12][13][14][15] A few weeks later, also Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies (who had been elected as an independent of SEL in 2013), joined LeU.[16][17][18] Another high-profile adherent was Rossella Muroni, who had been the president of Legambiente up to then.[19] In January, LeU was joined also by the Greens of South Tyrol.[20][21]

2018 general election and dissolution[edit]

In January 2018, shortly before the election some internal conflict started within the party, with Grasso accused to be little charismatic and uninfluential on alliance politics.[22]

In March, LeU obtained 3.4% of the vote in the general election, well below expectations[23][24] and opinion polls, electing 14 deputies and 4 senators.[25][26]

In May, LeU launched a constituent assembly in Rome with the partecipation of the MDP, SI and Possible, which agreed on the creation of a party with a single structure and an internal voting system on political issues.[27] In June, the national committee of LeU fixed the founding congress for December.[28] The following day, Beatrice Brignone, who had replaced Civati as secretary of Possible, announced the departure of her party from the alliance.[29]

More internal conflicts broke out between the two remaining parties (MDP and SI) during summer, especially about political affiliations for the upcoming 2019 European Parliament election and possible alliance with the PD.[30] Between October and December, LeU was successively abandoned by SI (focused on entering a new alliance led by Luigi de Magistris, Popular Coalition)[31][32] and the MDP (focused on the formation of a new "red-green" party)[33][34][35] as well as by high-profile members like Boldrini.[36]

In January 2019, SI returned into LeU's fold and under the leadership of senator Francesco Laforgia and deputy Luca Pastorino (dissident members of MDP and Possible, respectively) the two organisations initiated a collaboration with the goal of forming a joint party by March.[37][38][39]

Composition[edit]

Founding members[edit]

Party Main ideology Leader
Article 1 – Democratic and Progressive Movement (Art. 1–MDP) Social democracy Roberto Speranza
Italian Left (SI) Democratic socialism Nicola Fratoianni
Possible (P) Progressivism Giuseppe Civati

Other participating members[edit]

Party Main ideology Leader/s
Greens of South Tyrol (V–G–V) Green politics Brigitte Foppa and Hans Heiss
Sicilian Socialist Party (PSS) Democratic socialism Antonio Matasso

Election results[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year No. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2018 1,114,799 (6th) 3.39
14 / 630
Pietro Grasso
Senate of the Republic
Election year No. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2018 991,159 (6th) 3.28
4 / 315
Pietro Grasso

Regional Councils[edit]

Region Last election No. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
+/−
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2018 11,748 (10th) 2.78
1 / 49
Increase 1
Lombardy 2018 111,296 (7th) 2.12
0 / 80
South Tyrol 2018 19,391 (4th)
(with the Greens)
6.86
(with the Greens)
3 / 35
Trentino 2018 3,560 (15th) 1.40
0 / 35
Lazio 2018 88,416 (8th) 3.48
1 / 50
Increase 1
Abruzzo 2019 16,614 (9th) 2.77
0 / 31
Molise 2018 4,784 (10th) 3.39
0 / 21
Sicily 2017 100,583 (9th) 5.23
1 / 70
Increase 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Italy". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Cambia nome, ma è sempre socialdemocrazia".
  3. ^ "Iniziativa sul socialismo organizzata da LEU".
  4. ^ "Leu: Rossi, nostro compito è costruire partito ispirato a socialismo". Adnkronos. 7 January 2018.
  5. ^ "La contro-assemblea di Emiliano, Rossi e Speranza: "Insieme sabato a Roma". La minoranza andrà da Renzi domenica". 15 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Pd, la minoranza sfida Renzi. Guerini ribatte: "Ultimatum non ricevibili"". 18 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Sinistra Italiana nasce scissa, Fratoianni verso l'incoronazione da leader: "Con Renzi porte chiuse".
  8. ^ "Sinistra Italiana, a Rimini il battesimo del nuovo partito".
  9. ^ "La sinistra dalla questione morale a quella nominale".
  10. ^ "RICOMINCIO DA TRE". 11 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Dal comitato di Fava: "Soddisfazione per il superamento della soglia di sbarramento del 5%"".
  12. ^ "Liberi e uguali, Grasso: 'Ecco la nuova sinistra' - Politica". 3 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Sinistra, Grasso lancia 'Liberi e uguali': "Pd mi ha offerto incarichi ma i calcoli non fanno per me"". 3 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Pietro Grasso sarà il leader della sinistra - Il Post". 3 December 2017.
  15. ^ "il manifesto". ilmanifesto.it.
  16. ^ Politica, Redazione. "Boldrini al fianco di Grasso in Liberi e Uguali: «Saremo il nuovo centrosinistra» Video".
  17. ^ "Boldrini annuncia la sua candidatura con "Liberi e uguali": "E' il momento di scegliere la strada"". 22 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Il partito dei presidenti". 22 December 2017.
  19. ^ "LeU: Rossella Muroni lascia Legambiente per affiancare Grasso".
  20. ^ "Bolzano. I Verdi dell'Alto Adige Südtirol correranno con LeU, ecco gli otto candidati".
  21. ^ "In Alto Adige i Verdi hanno deciso di entrare in Liberi e Uguali".
  22. ^ "Altro che libero e uguale: Grasso è già all'angolo. E D'Alema e Bersani fanno le liste". Linkiesta. 10 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Grasso lancia la "Cosa rossa". D'Alema: "Puntiamo al 10%"".
  24. ^ LeU, D'Alema: "Puntiamo a risultato a due cifre, niente inciuci". Agi.it. 21 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Eligendo: Camera". elezioni.interno.gov.it (in Italian). 4 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Eligendo: Senato". elezioni.interno.gov.it (in Italian). 4 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  27. ^ Cangemi, Annalisa (15 May 2018). "LeU verso l'assemblea nazionale il 26 maggio. Mdp: "Facciamo un partito unico"". Fanpage.it.
  28. ^ affaritaliani.it, ed. (13 June 2018). "Leu: congresso fondativo entro 15 dicembre".
  29. ^ "Sinistra, Brignone: Possibile fuori da partito unico, buon lavoro a costituente Leu". Possibile. 14 June 2018.
  30. ^ Preziosi, Daniela (12 August 2018). il Manifesto, ed. "L'estate dello scontento di Leu".
  31. ^ "'Goodbye LeU': Sinistra Italiana scarica Mdp e guarda a De Magistris".
  32. ^ "Leu, esperienza finita. Mdp e Sinistra italiana si lasciano. Speranza: "Ora una sinistra di governo".
  33. ^ "Una forza rosso-verde per garantire l'alternativa alla nuova destra".
  34. ^ "Mdp si fa rosso-verde, il 16 dicembre a Roma".
  35. ^ "Mdp esce da Liberi e Uguali. Le scissioni, la sinistra e la meccanica quantistica".
  36. ^ "Boldrini rompe con Leu: «Progetto senza futuro», la replica: «Trattati come autobus elettorale»".
  37. ^ "Liberi e Uguali si riunisce alla Casa del Popolo di San Bartolo a Cintoia".
  38. ^ "Costituita associazione per nascita partito di sinistra".
  39. ^ "Sinistra, a 100 giorni dalle Europee si provano a definire liste e alleanze".