Union of Democrats for Europe
|Union of Democrats for Europe|
|Unione Democratici per l'Europa|
|Founded||23 May 1999|
|Preceded by||Democratic Union for the Republic|
|Merged into||Forza Italia|
|Headquarters||Largo Arenula, 34
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
|Politics of Italy
The Union of Democrats for Europe (Italian: Unione Democratici per l'Europa, UDEUR), whose latest official name has been UDEUR Populars (Popolari UDEUR), was a centrist and Christian-democratic political party in Italy. Led by Clemente Mastella, the party has been at times very strong in Southern Italy, but almost irrelevant in Northern Italy. After a decline in terms of popularity in 2007–2008, the party resists only in Campania, Mastella's heartland, and few other regions.
The UDEUR emerged in May 1999 at the breakup of the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR). This party had been founded in June 1998, under the leadership of Francesco Cossiga, by the merger of Rocco Buttiglione's United Christian Democrats, Mastella's Christian Democrats for the Republic (a splinter group from the Christian Democratic Centre), the Segni Pact and splinters from Forza Italia, National Alliance and Lega Nord.
In 2000, along with the Italian People's Party, The Democrats and Italian Renewal, the UDEUR joined Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (DL), which gained 14.6% at the 2001 general election. When DL was transformed into a party in 2002, Mastella refused to join and the UDEUR remained an independent party within the centre-left.
In 2004 the party changed its official name to UDEUR Populars and amended its symbol accordingly.
Toward the end of the 2001–06 parliamentary term, Mastella decided to continue the alliance with the centre-left, although he and his party were in conflict with the secularist policies proposed by the new coalition partner Rose in the Fist and despite the presence of far-left parties such as the Communist Refoundation Party. At the 2006 general election the UDEUR was part of The Union centre-left coalition in support of Romano Prodi. It obtained 1.4% of the vote, electing 14 deputies (4 in The Olive Tree's list) and 3 senators. The Union won the election, and Mastella was appointed Minister of Justice in Romano Prodi's second government.
On 16 January 2008 Clemente Mastella, who was under investigation by prosecutor Luigi de Magistris, resigned as Minister of Justice and on 21 January decided to withdraw his party's support to Romano Prodi, who himself resigned after a vote of confidence in the Senate on 24 January, clearing the way toward a snap election.
In the following weeks the party suffered several splits leading to several regional parties, notably the Democratic Populars in Campania, the United Populars in Basilicata and the Sardinian Autonomist Populars in Sardinia, while the Umbrian regional section joined Christian Democracy. Most leading members, including Antonio Satta, Stefano Cusumano, Mauro Fabris, Armando Veneto and Tommaso Barbato, left.
At the 2008 general election both The People of Freedom (PdL) and the Union of the Centre (UdC) refused the UDEUR as coalition partner. The party was thus reduced to a regional party in Campania. The party chose not to present any list in the election and even Mastella decided not to run for re-election.
After the fall
In February 2009 the UDEUR formed an alliance with the PdL in Campania; under the agreement, the UDEUR supported centre-right candidates in the 2009 provincial and municipal elections in the region and Mastella was elected to the 2009 European Parliament election in the PdL list.
After being almost disbanded in 2008, the party tried to recover and broaden its base. Some former UDEUR members came back and new members joined. The latter included Giulio Di Donato, a former leading figure of the Italian Socialist Party, who was appointed regional secretary in Campania.
In 2010 the party was briefly known as Populars for the South. In fact the party was active only in the South by that time. In May 2011 Mastella ran for mayor of Naples and gained just 2.5% of the vote.
At the 2014 European Parliament election Mastella stood as candidate for Forza Italia, but failed in his attempt at reelection.
- Secretary: Clemente Mastella (1999–2010)
- President: Irene Pivetti (1999–2002), Ida Dentamaro (2002–2004), Mino Martinazzoli (2004–2005), Lorenzo Acquarone (2005–2006), Federica Rossi Gasparrini (2007–2008), Marilina Intrieri (2009–2010)
- Administrative Secretary: Tancredi Cimmino (1999–2006), Mauro Fabris (2006), Pier Paolo Sganga (2006–2008)
- Thomas Jansen; Steven Van Hecke (19 May 2011). At Europe's Service: The Origins and Evolution of the European People's Party. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 65. ISBN 978-3-642-19414-6.
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