Background [ edit ]
The formation of political groups in the 19th century in divided Italy is based upon personalities, like
Camillo di Cavour and Giuseppe Mazzini. Both the Historical Right ( Destra Storica) and the Historical Left ( Sinistra Storica) were composed of monarchist liberals, while radicals organised themselves as the Radical Party and republicans as the Italian Republican Party. Only in the 1920s, the Liberals around Giovanni Giolitti formed their party, the precursor of the Italian Liberal Party. After the end of World War II both Liberals and Republicans reorganised themselves, followed by more liberal parties in the upcoming decades.
Liberalism was strongly divided after the shake up of Italian politics, following the
scandal and the subsequent Tangentopoli . Nowadays a broad group of parties, not all included, tend to use the label liberal. Liberals are now divided over the Mani Pulite centre-right Forza Italia (successor of the former Forza Italia, itself primarily a merger of liberal and Christian-democratic forces, and The People of Freedom) and the centre-left Democratic Party (a merger of social democrats, progressive Christian democrats and social liberals). Then there are some minor liberal parties: the formerly centre-left - nowadays centre-right - Italian Republican Party (former ELDR member) and the Italian Radicals ( ALDE and Liberal International member).
Also the centrist-populist
Italy of Values is a member of ALDE Party, although it is very difficult to classify it as a liberal party in whichever sense.
Most members of the late
Italian Liberal Party (refounded as a very small party in 2004, see Italian Liberal Party of 2004) and many former Republicans joined Forza Italia, which was often presented and defined in Italy as a liberal party, and the other parties of the House of Freedoms coalition. This is the reason why the term 'liberals' is more often used when speaking of the centre-right, now dominated by Forza Italia's successor party, The People of Freedom, which tries to combine economic liberalism with freedom of conscience on ethical matters.
Timeline [ edit ]
The Radical Party (1877) [ edit ]
1877: Progressive liberals left the Historical Left (
Sinistra Storica) and formed the ( Radical Party Partito Radicale). 1926: The party was banned but many members remained politically active.
The Italian Republican Party [ edit ]
1895: The Mazzinisti organised themselves into the
( Italian Republican Party Partito Repubblicano Italiano, PRI). 1926-1943: The PRI was banned, but continued its activities in exile.
1946: A faction of the Action Party, the Republican Democratic Party (
Movimento Democratico Repubblicano), joined the party, followed by other members of the PdA. 2001: The party joined the centre-right
House of Freedoms coalition of Silvio Berlusconi. 2003: A progressive liberal faction formed the
( European Republicans Movement Movimento Repubblicani Europei). 2011: The European Republicans Movement re-merged with the PRI.
The Italian Liberal Party [ edit ]
Camillo Benso di Cavour formes a parliamentarty group in the Kingdom of Sardinia Parliament named "Italian Liberal Party" ( Partito Liberale Italiano). 1922: Conservative liberals, remnants of the
Historical Right ( Destra Storica), by then called Liberal-Conservatives ( Liberal-Conservatori), and members of Giovanni Giolitti's Liberal Left ( Sinistra Liberale), which had acted only as parliamentary factions until then, formed the ( Italian Liberal Party Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI). 1926: The Italian Liberal Party was banned.
1943: Renmants of the old liberal current organised themselves in the conservative-liberal
( Italian Liberal Party Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI). 1994: After the collapse of the party system, the left-wing of the party formed the
( Federation of Italian Liberals Federazione dei Liberali Italiani, FdL), the centre-right the ( Union of the Centre Unione di Centro, UdC) and the ( Liberal Party Partito Liberale, PL), the right-wing the ( Italian Liberal Right Destra Liberale Italiana, DLI), which elected some candidates on the electoral list of National Alliance, while many other centrist members joined Forza Italia. 1996: FdL joined the
Democratic Union. 1998: UdC merged into Forza Italia.
1999: FdL formed an electoral alliance with the
Italian Republican Party. 2004: Splinters from FdL formed the
( Association for Liberal Democracy Associazione per la Democrazia Liberale), which joined Democracy is Freedom, whilst the Liberal Party and the Italian Liberal Right (now called Liberals for Italy, Liberali per l'Italia) re-established the ( Italian Liberal Party Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI). 2013: the PLI contested the
2013 general election as party of the With Monti for Italy ( Con Monti per l'Italia) coalition.
The National Union and the opposition to Fascism [ edit ]
1924: Anti-fascist liberals formed the
( National Union Unione Nazionale). 1926: The party was banned.
The Action Party and the Italian Resistance [ edit ]
From the Radical Party (1955) to the Italian Radicals [ edit ]
From Forza Italia to The People of Freedom and back to Forza Italia [ edit ]
From Democratic Alliance to the Democratic Party [ edit ]
Civic Choice and European Choice [ edit ]
Liberal leaders [ edit ]
Before 1861: Alessandro Manzoni, Carlo Cattaneo
Historical Right / Liberal-Conservatives: Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Sidney Sonnino
Historical Left / Democrats: Francesco Crispi, Agostino Depretis
Radical Party (1877): Felice Cavallotti, Ernesto Nathan, Francesco Saverio Nitti
National Union: Giovanni Amendola
Liberals / Italian Liberal Party: Giuseppe Zanardelli, Giovanni Giolitti, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Benedetto Croce, Luigi Einaudi, Bruno Villabruna, Manlio Brosio, Leone Cattani, Gaetano Martino, Agostino Bignardi, Bruno Leoni, Giovanni Malagodi
Italian Republican Party: Ugo La Malfa, Giovanni Spadolini, Giorgio La Malfa
Radical Party (1955) / Italian Radicals: Marco Pannella, Emma Bonino
Forza Italia: Silvio Berlusconi, Alfredo Biondi (ex-PLI), Raffaele Costa (ex-PLI), Antonio Martino (ex-PLI), Marcello Pera (ex- PSI, ex-Rad), Giulio Tremonti (ex-PSI), Renato Brunetta (ex-PSI), Benedetto Della Vedova (ex-Rad), Daniele Capezzone (ex-Rad)
Democratic Party: Antonio Maccanico (ex-PRI), Valerio Zanone (ex-PLI), Francesco Rutelli (ex-Rad, ex- Green), Enzo Bianco (ex-PRI), Paolo Gentiloni (ex-Green), Gianni Vernetti (ex-Green), Linda Lanzillotta (ex-PSI), Beatrice Rangoni Machiavelli (ex-PLI)
Liberal thinkers [ edit ]
Contributions to liberal theory the following Italian thinkers are included:
See also [ edit ]