The Network (political party)

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Not to be confused with The Network 2018.
The Network
La Rete
Leader Leoluca Orlando
Founded 24 January 1991
21 March 1991[1]
Dissolved 27 February 1999
Split from Christian Democracy[2]
Merged into The Democrats[3]
Ideology Anti-corruption politics
Christian left
Political position Centre-left[3][4]
National affiliation Alliance of Progressives (1994–96)
The Olive Tree (1996–99)
European Parliament group Green Group[5][6] (1994–99)

The Network (Italian: La Rete), whose complete name is Movement for Democracy – The Network (Movimento per la Democrazia – La Rete),[7] was a political party in Italy led by Leoluca Orlando.


Formed by Orlando on 24 January 1991 whilst mayor of Palermo the group sought to reinvigorate the moral traditions of Italian democracy. The party was Catholic-inspired,[8][9][10] anti-Mafia[11][12][13] and anti-corruption.[14] The Network proposed an end of parliamentary immunity, greater judicial powers to tackle Mafia, and a smaller parliament with fewer law-makers.[15] Describing itself as a movement rather than a party, The Network aimed to be a loose 'civic movement' without formal memberships or rigid party structure.[16][17]

Orlando was initially attached to Christian Democracy,[18] later breaking with this party in 1991 due to its relations to the Mafia.[19][20] The party succeeded in gaining elected office in Sicily, including holding on to the mayorship of Palermo in 1993. It participated in the Alliance of Progressives, which included the Democratic Party of the Left, the Democratic Alliance, the Federation of the Greens, the Communist Refoundation Party, the Italian Socialist Party and the Social Christians, that unsuccessfully contested the 1994 general election against the House of Freedoms coalition of Silvio Berlusconi.

The party, whose leader stated the aim of creating an Italian Democratic Party,[21] changed its name to The Network for the Democratic Party (La Rete per il Partito Democratico) in 1996 and was later absorbed into The Democrats of Romano Prodi in 1999. Well-known former members of La Rete include Claudio Fava.

Election results[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 730,171 (#11) 1.9
12 / 630
Leoluca Orlando
1994 719,841 (#11) 1.9
6 / 630
Decrease 6
Leoluca Orlando
1996 with The Olive Tree
5 / 630
Decrease 1
Leoluca Orlando
Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1992 239,868 (#12) 0.7
3 / 315
Leoluca Orlando
1994 with Progressives
6 / 315
Increase 3
Leoluca Orlando
1996 with The Olive Tree
1 / 315
Decrease 5
Leoluca Orlando

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1994 366,258 (#11) 1.1
1 / 81
Leoluca Orlando


  • Foot, John M. (1996). The 'Left Opposition' and the crisis: Rifondazione Comunista and La Rete. The New Italian Republic: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to Berlusconi. Routledge. pp. 173–188. ISBN 0-415-12161-2. 


  1. ^ Leoluca Orlando (2013). Fighting the Mafia & Renewing Sicilian Culture. Encounter Books. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-59403-401-5. 
  2. ^ Luciano Bardi; Piero Ignazi (1998). The Italian Party System: The Effective Magnitude of an Earthquake. The Organization of Political Parties in Southern Europe. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-275-95612-7. 
  3. ^ a b Liubomir K. Topaloff (2012). Political Parties and Euroscepticism. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-230-36176-8. 
  4. ^ Philip Daniels (1999). Italy: Rupture or Regeneration. Changing Party Systems in Western Europe. A&C Black. p. 78. ISBN 1-85567-328-2. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Elizabeth Bomberg (2005). Green Parties and Politics in the European Union. Routledge. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-134-85144-7. 
  7. ^ Roberto D'Alimonte (2001). Mixed Electoral Rules, Partisan Realignment, and Party System Change in Italy. Mixed-Member Electoral Systems : The Best of Both Worlds?: The Best of Both Worlds?. Oxford University Press. p. 347. ISBN 0-19-924079-5. 
  8. ^ Luciano Bardi; Leonardo Morlino (1994). Italy: Tracing the Roots of the Great Transformation. How Parties Organize: Change and Adaptation in Party Organizations in Western Democracies. SAGE. p. 266. ISBN 0-8039-7960-6. 
  9. ^ Stefano Fella; Carlo Ruzza (2009). Re-inventing the Italian Right: Territorial Politics, Populism and 'post-fascism'. Routledge. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-415-34461-6. 
  10. ^ Donald Sassoon (1997). Contemporary Italy: Politics, Economy and Society Since 1945 (2nd ed.). Longman. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-582-21428-6. 
  11. ^ Mario B. Mignone (2008). Italy Today: Facing the Challenges of the New Millennium. Peter Lang. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-4331-0187-8. 
  12. ^ Martin Rhodes (1995). Italy: Greens in an overcrowded political system. The Green Challenge: The Development of Green Parties in Europe. Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 0-415-10649-4. 
  13. ^ René Seindal (1998). Mafia: Money and Politics in Sicily, 1950-1997. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-87-7289-455-3. 
  14. ^ Nick Carter (1998). Italy: The Demise of Post-War Partyocracy. Political Parties and the Collapse of the Old Orders. State University of New York Press. p. 89. ISBN 0-7914-4067-2. 
  15. ^ James L. Newell; Martin Bull (2014). Party Organisations and Alliances in Italy in the 1990s: A Revolution of Sorts. Crisis and Transition in Italian Politics. Routledge. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-135-22274-1. 
  16. ^ José María Magone (2003). The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration Into the European Union. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 220. ISBN 0-275-97787-0. 
  17. ^ Sondra Z. Koff; Stephen P. Koff (2000). Italy: From the 1st to the 2nd Republic. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 0-415-19663-9. 
  18. ^ Dario Caronitti (2001). "Political Parties (Italy)". Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Garland. p. 710. ISBN 978-1-135-17932-8. 
  19. ^ Robert Leonardi; Paolo Albert (2004). From Dominance to Doom? Christian Democracy in Italy. Christian Democratic Parties in Europe Since the End of the Cold War. Leuven University Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-90-5867-377-0. 
  20. ^ John Pollard (2002). "DC". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture. Routledge. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-134-75877-7. 
  21. ^ Foot (1996). The 'Left Opposition' and the crisis. p. 186. 

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