|Founded||14 July 2001|
|Preceded by||Bonino List|
|Headquarters||Via di Torre Argentina, 76
Radio Radicale (FM radio)
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|European Parliament group||Non-Inscrits (2001–04)
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (2004–09)
|Chamber of Deputies||
0 / 630
0 / 315
0 / 73
The Italian Radicals (Italian: Radicali Italiani) are an Italian political party, which describes itself as a "liberale, liberista e libertario" (liberista means economic liberal or, better, libertarian in the American sense; libertario, here, denotes a form of cultural liberalism concerning moral issues, with some ideological connection with historical left-libertarianism).
The party intends to be the Italian section of the Transnational Radical Party, that is to say the continuation of the Radical Party founded in 1955 by the left-wing of the Italian Liberal Party and re-launched in the 1960s by Marco Pannella. As the Radical Party had become a transnational NGO working mainly at the UN-level, which by statute does not participate in national political elections, its Italian members organised themselves into the Pannella List (Lista Pannella) between 1992 and 1999 and into the Bonino List (Lista Bonino) until 2001, when they re-established themselves as a party.
Founded on 14 July 2001 (with Daniele Capezzone as their first secretary), the Italian Radicals are a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. The party was previously a full member of the Liberal International.
The Radical Party was long a left-libertarian movement in Italy, often proposing itself as the most extreme opposition to the Italian political establishment. When Silvio Berlusconi entered the political arena in 1994, the Radicals, who were then organised mostly into the Pannella List and were attracted by Berlusconi's proposed economic liberalism, supported him, albeit critically and without becoming directly involved in his centre-right governments, in the hope of a "liberal revolution" as opposed to the conservative and statist political establishment represented by traditional parties.
The twisted relationship between the Radicals and Berlusconi, whose allies included socially conservative groups at odds with the Radicals' social liberalism, soon ended up. In the 1999 European Parliament election, the Bonino List obtained 8.7% of the vote and seven MEPs, including Emma Bonino, Marco Pannella, Marco Cappato and Benedetto Della Vedova. However, the Radicals were not able to convert that electoral success into a more stable political influence.
Road to the new party
Shortly after the 1999 election, they deserted Berlusconi's proposal of welcoming them back into the centre-right fold and formed the "Committee of Radicals for the Liberal Revolution and the United States of Europe", led by Cappato, instead. In the run-up of the 2000 regional elections, the opposite happened: Berlusconi's conservative allies posed a veto on the Radicals, who wanted to re-compose the alliance; consequently, they ran independent bids in most regions, obtaining elects only in Piedmont and Lombardy.
Finally, in 2001, after a crushing defeat in the general election (only 2.3% of the vote and no seats), they re-organised themselves as Italian Radicals and elected 28-year-old Daniele Capezzone as secretary, and Della Vedova, Rita Bernardini and Luca Coscioni as joint presidents.
In the run-up to the 2005 regional elections, the Radicals understood that their isolation was no longer sustainable and took the unprecedented step of contextually asking to join either the centre-right House of Freedoms or the centre-left The Union, regardless of their respective political platforms. The request was turned down by both.
The Rose in the Fist
In November 2005 the Radicals formed an alliance with the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI), becoming de facto members of The Union coalition for the 2006 general election. The "rose in the fist", that the Radical Party had bought from the French Socialist Party and is the symbol of the Socialist International (which included the SDI), was chosen for the joint list, that was thus named Rose in the Fist. This decision led those Radicals who were more keen on an alliance with the centre-right to split: this group, led by Della Vedova, launched the Liberal Reformers and joined the House of Freedoms, eventually merging into Berlusconi's Forza Italia.
In the election the list wone a mere 2.6%, much less than the combined support for two parties before the alliance (the Radicals alone was at 2.3% in the 2004 European Parliament election). The Radicals lost voters in their strongholds in the North to Forza Italia, while the Socialists lost ground in their southern heartlands to The Olive Tree parties (see electoral results of the Rose in the Fist). After the election, Bonino was sworn in as Minister of European Affairs and International Trade in Prodi II Cabinet.
In November 2006, after a row with Pannella, who was still the party's real leader, Capezzone was forced not to run again for secretary and was replaced by rank-and-file Bernardini. Since then, Capezzone, although not leaving officially the party, became very critical of the government and formed his own political association named Decide!, much closer to the centre-right than to the centre-left. Later on, Capezzone entered Forza Italia and became the party's spokesman.
In November 2007, the Rose in the Fist was disbanded as the SDI merged into the modern-day Italian Socialist Party, and the Radicals were at a new turning-point of their history. In the run-up of the 2007 congress, Pannella declared that the party should "give absolute priority to economic, liberal and libertarian reforms rather than the civil struggle to Vatican power, prepotency and arrogance", which had been central in 2006. This did not mean anyway a reconciliation with the centre-right.
Within the Democratic Party
In the 2008 general election the Radicals stood for re-election in list with the Democratic Party (PD). Under an agreement with PD's leader Walter Veltroni, six deputies and three senators were elected. After the election, Bonino was appointed Vice President of the Senate and the Radicals joined the PD's parliamentary groups. In June Bernardini, Maria Antonietta Coscioni and Elisabetta Zamparutti, all three elected MPs, were replaced by Antonella Casu, Bruno Mellano and Michele De Lucia as secretary, president and treasurer, respectively. In November the new leadership was confirmed by the national congress.
In the 2009 European Parliament election the Radicals ran separately from the PD as the Bonino-Pannella List. Having obtained 2.4% of the vote, they failed to return any MEPs. In November Mario Staderini replaced Casu as secretary.
Out of Parliament
In January 2013 the party announced that it would contest the upcoming general election on a stand-alone electoral list called Amnesty, Justice and Freedom (Aministia, Giustizia, e Libertà). In the election, the party received 0.2% of the vote, returning no deputies and senators. However, in April, after two months of failed attempts at forming a new government, thanks to her international standing and Pannella's lobbying efforts, Bonino was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Letta Cabinet. The cabinet lasted until 22 February 2014, when it was replaced by the Renzi Cabinet, which did not include Bonino.
In November 2013 the party elected a new leadership: Bernardini secretary, Laura Arconti president and Valerio Federico treasurer. The party did not take part in the 2014 European Parliament election, partly due to lack of funds.
Splits and Pannella's death
In November 2015, during the annual party congress, Riccardo Magi was elected secretary and Cappato president. Pannella, who did not speak at the congress, opposed the change, while Bonino, who was no longer in good terms with the old leader, did not even take part to the congress. However, in the following months, Bonino decided to side with Magi and Cappato, who launched Radical lists for the 2016 municipal elections in Rome and Milan, which obtained 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively. In both cases, the Radicals supported the candidates put forward by the PD.
In the event, the party found itself increasingly divided in two factions: on one side Magi, Cappato and Staderini (who were backed by Bonino), on the other Bernardini, Maurizio Turco and most of the staff of Radio Radicale (who were closer to the late Pannella). The former focused more on Italian politics and elections, while the latter were more interested in the activity of the Transnational Radical Party and no longer in playing an active role in elections (as suggested by Pannella).
The Italian Radicals are an atypical party for Italy and they are typically viewed as leftist by right-wing people, and rightist by left-wing people. Among other things, they are the only Italian party with a clear anti-clerical agenda, whereas most other parties either support the Catholic Church or are ambivalent.
They are vocal supporters of human and civil rights, which they consider to include abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, artificial insemination, stem cell research, abolition of capital punishment all around the world and legalisation of soft drugs. This put the party at odds with the mainstream centre-right parties. On the other hand, their strong support of libertarian policies, the free market, liberalizations, privatizations, low taxes and privately funded health care put it at odds with the centre-left.
They also propose an American-style reform of Italian political system, including presidentialism, competitive federalism and first-past-the-post voting. Despite being a small party, they are also keen supporters of the two-party system.
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
7 / 630
6 / 630
0 / 630
|Senate of the Republic|
|Election year||# of
| % of
overall seats won
0 / 315
3 / 315
0 / 315
- Secretary: Daniele Capezzone (2001–2006), Rita Bernardini (2006–2008), Antonella Casu (2008–2009), Mario Staderini (2009–2013), Rita Bernardini (2013–2015), Riccardo Magi (2015–present)
- President: Benedetto Della Vedova, Rita Bernardini and Luca Coscioni (2001–2003), Luca Coscioni (2003–2006), Maria Antonietta Coscioni (2006–2008), Bruno Mellano (2008–2010), Silvio Viale (2010–2013), Laura Arconti (2013–2014), Riccardo Magi (2014–2015), Marco Cappato (2015–present)
- Treasurer: Danilo Quinto (2001–2003), Rita Bernardini (2003–2006), Elisabetta Zamparutti (2006–2008), Michele De Lucia (2008–2013), Valerio Federico (2013–present)
- President of the National Committee: Werther Casali (2004–2010), Marco Revelli (2010–2011), Giulia Simi (2011–2013), Michele Capano (2013–2014), Silvio Viale (2014–2015), Antonella Soldo (2015–2016), Manuela Zambrano (2016–present)
- (Italian) http://www.radicali.it
- James L. Newell (2010). The Politics of Italy: Governance in a Normal Country. Cambridge University Press. pp. 42, 218, 219. ISBN 978-0-521-84070-5.
- Raphaël Kies (2010). Promises and Limits of Web-deliberation. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-230-10637-6.
- ALDE Party members | ALDE Party
- Radicali Italiani - Italy - Full Members - Members - Liberalism
- André Krouwel (2012). Party Transformations in European Democracies. SUNY Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-4384-4483-3.
- http://www.ilriformista.it/news/rif_lay_notizia_01.php?id_cat=4&id_news=3003 Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- vasco_pirri_ardizzone. "http://blog.panorama.it/italia/2007/11/02/radicali-a-congresso-di-qua-o-di-la-la-priorita-sono-le-riforme-economiche/". Blog.panorama.it. Retrieved 2011-02-24. External link in
- "7° CONGRESSO RADICALE: SCINTILLE A CONGRESSO,MA CASU RESTA SEGRETARIA - Clandestinoweb: sondaggi politici, elettorali. Il sondaggio politico elettorale che fa opinione". Clandestinoweb. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
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