Forza Italia (2013)
Forza Italia is a centre-right political party in Italy whose ideology includes elements of liberal conservatism, Christian democracy, liberalism. Its leader is Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy; the party, formed out of the former People of Freedom, is a revival of the defunct Forza Italia, active from 1994 to 2009, when it was merged with National Alliance and several minor parties to form the PdL. Forza Italia's leading members include Antonio Tajani, Elisabetta Casellati, Giovanni Toti, Donato Toma, Renato Brunetta, Paolo Romani, Mariastella Gelmini, Anna Maria Bernini, Elisabetta Gardini, Maurizio Gasparri, Renato Schifani, Mara Carfagna and Stefania Prestigiacomo. On 11 September 2014 FI was admitted into the European People's Party, inheriting the PdL's membership. FI is a much smaller party than the original FI and the early PdL, due to the splits of Future and Freedom, the Brothers of Italy, the New Centre-Right, the Conservative and Reformists and the Liberal Popular Alliance.
In the 2018 general election FI was overtaken by Lega Nord as the largest party of the centre-right coalition. The new FI, announced in June 2013, was launched on 18 September and the PdL was formally dissolved into the party on 16 November; the day before a group of dissidents, led by Berlusconi's former protégé Angelino Alfano, had broken away by announcing the foundation of the alternative New Centre-Right. Another group of PdL members, led by former mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno, had left the party earlier in order to form Italy First. According to Berlusconi, the PdL would become a coalition of centre-right parties, including the new FI, Lega Nord, the NCD, the FdI, etc. Among the supporters of the return to FI, the so-called "hawks" and self-proclaimed "loyalists", a leading role was played by Raffaele Fitto, despite the common Christian-democratic background, was a long-time rival of Alfano. Loyalists included Antonio Martino, Renato Brunetta, Denis Verdini, Mariastella Gelmini, Mara Carfagna, Daniela Santanchè, Niccolò Ghedini and Daniele Capezzone, while Maurizio Gasparri, Altero Matteoli and Paolo Romani tried to mediate, but joined the new FI.
The symbol of FI made its return in the 2013 Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol provincial elections, although in a regional fashion: "Forza Trentino" and "Forza Alto Adige". On 27 November the Senate approved Berlusconi's expulsion, following the leader's conviction for tax evasion in August, when Berlusconi was sentenced to four years of imprisonment, the last three being automatically pardoned; the day before FI had joined the opposition to Enrico Letta's government, still supported by Alfano's NCD instead. The latter voted against Berlusconi's expulsion, but since completely parted ways from FI; as of the end of December 2013, Berlusconi was set to appoint two vice-presidents: Antonio Tajani and Giovanni Toti. As a result of the resentment by the party's old guard, notably including Fitto, on the alleged appointment of Toti as coordinator-at-large, Berlusconi appointed him "political counselor" to the party. In the 2014 European Parliament election FI obtained 16.8% of the vote and 13 MEPs elected, including Toti in the North-West, Tajani in the Centre and, most notably, Fitto in the South.
Fitto, the strongest backer of Berlusconi's leadership in late 2013, became his main internal challenger by mid 2014. After months of bickering with Berlusconi over the so-called "Nazareno pact" with Matteo Renzi, leader of the Democratic Party and Prime Minister, in February 2015 Fitto launched his own faction, named "Rebuilders". Fitto's supporters included Capezzone, Maurizio Bianconi, Rocco Palese, Saverio Romano, Cinzia Bonfrisco, Augusto Minzolini and most Apulian MPs. In the run-up of the 2015 regional elections the party was riven in internal disputes and was divided in three groups: Berlusconi's loyalists, Fitto's "Rebuilders" and nostalgics of the "Nazareno pact"; the latter were led by Verdini and some of them, notably including Bondi, were pro-Renzi. Bondi, a former Berlusconi loyalist, his partner Manuela Repetti left the party in March, while other disgruntled Verdiniani propped up the government from time to time. Berlusconi chose Toti as candidate for President in Liguria, confirmed incumbent Stefano Caldoro as the party's standard-bearer in Campania and renewed their support of LN's Luca Zaia in Veneto.
However and Fitto did not find an agreement on the composition of the slates in Apulia, where the two wings of the party fielded two opposing candidates for president, similar problems arose in Tuscany, Verdini's home region and stronghold. Two weeks before the regional election, Fitto left the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament in order to join the European Conservatives and Reformists, he left FI altogether and launched his own party, named Conservatives and Reformists too. By mid July, when CR was formally established as a party, nine deputies, ten senators and another MEP had left FI in order to follow Fitto. In the elections the party lost many votes to the LN, gained more than 10% only in three regions out sev
2006 Italian general election
The 2006 Italian general election for the two Chambers of the Italian Parliament was held on 9 and 10 April 2006. Romano Prodi, leader of the centre-left coalition The Union, narrowly defeated the incumbent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right coalition House of Freedoms. Initial exit polls suggested a victory for Prodi. On 11 April 2006, Prodi declared victory. Preliminary results showed The Union leading the House of Freedoms in the Chamber of Deputies, with 340 seats to 277, thanks to obtaining a majority bonus. One more seat is allied with The Union and 7 more seats in the foreign constituency; the House of Freedoms had secured a slight majority of Senate seats elected within Italy, but The Union won 4 of the 6 seats allocated to voters outside Italy, giving them control of both chambers. On 19 April 2006, Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that Prodi had indeed won the election, winning control of the Chamber of Deputies by only 24,755 votes out of more than 38 million votes cast, winning 158 seats in the Senate to 156 for Berlusconi's coalition.
So, Berlusconi refused to concede defeat, claiming unproven fraud. Recent developments, including publishing of a controversial documentary film about alleged frauds in the ballot counting during the election, brought in December 2006 the Electoral Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies to request for a recount of all ballot papers, starting from a 10% sample. During the election campaign, a political battle began between Romano Prodi, who led the centre-left coalition The Union and had been President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004 and Prime Minister of Italy from 1996 to 1998. On the other hand, Silvio Berlusconi led the centre-right House of Freedoms; the House of Freedoms was the coalition supporting the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, included the same parties as in the previous general election. The New Italian Socialist Party, a small social-democratic party composed of former members of the late Italian Socialist Party and led by former 1980s and 1990s minister Gianni De Michelis, part of the Berlusconi III Cabinet as a minister without portfolio, suffered a split on its last national congress, with a left-wing faction, led by Bobo Craxi, son of the late Bettino Craxi, who decided to leave the House of Freedoms and unilaterally elected Craxi himself as new party leader.
The NPSI contested the election with a joint list with the Christian Democracy for the Autonomies. As for the candidate who led the coalition into the general election, Berlusconi experienced an actual loss of support from Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, who asked for a return of the electoral law to a proportional system and a primary election to formally decide the alliance's candidate for Prime Minister; when the party list representation system was restored and Marco Follini, critic of several reforms imposed by Berlusconi on the whole coalition, resigned from the UDC secretaryship, the possibility of a change of leadership inside the House of Freedoms was reduced. On 27 October 2005, Lorenzo Cesa was appointed as new UDC secretary, becoming the successor of Follini himself; the coalition announced a "three-forwards" system, meaning that the Prime Ministerial candidate will be the political leader, among Casini and Berlusconi, whose party will win most votes. Since Berlusconi's party was known to be by far the largest one, it was understood that Berlusconi was the actual candidate.
One event which caused heavy criticism from the opposition was the support and obtained by Berlusconi, of a number of fascist movements and parties, notably the Social Alternative of Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the former dictator of Italy, Luca Romagnoli, a holocaust denier. Supporters of Berlusconi responded to this pointing to the presence in The Union of two communist parties, which had among their candidates anarchist activist Francesco Caruso and a transgender, Vladimir Luxuria; the Olive Tree coalition, expression of the Italian centre-left, was expanded as The Union, led for the election by former Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, who had beaten Berlusconi in the 1996 general election. Prodi's candidacy was confirmed by a national primary election, held on 16 October 2005; the former coalition was enlarged in order to cover the whole ensemble of Italian centre-left to left-wing factions. The Rose in the Fist was founded on 25 September 2005, when the Italian Radicals, a libertarian-influenced party declared an alliance with the Italian Democratic Socialists in the form of a confederation, with explicit references to the politics of Tony Blair, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Loris Fortuna, an Italian politician in the 1970s who became famous for his laicist proposals, is considered the father of the law on divorce.
This confederation caused a stir for not having signed the political platform of The Union, being the only centre-left party not to do that. The Socialists, led by Bobo Craxi, who were the breakaway left wing of the New Italia
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity; the more extreme elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were". The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time, thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.
Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s. According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, trying to win it back". Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy.
Individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism, influenced by liberal stances; as these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism has a wide variety of meanings. The term referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values, it contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres. Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted economic liberal arguments and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism.
This is the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition such as the United States and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous; the liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism. A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative views with those of social liberalism; this has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. This involves stressing what are now conservative views of free market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with social liberal views on defence of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. In continental Europe, this is sometimes translated into English as social conservatism.
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism that combines liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or more the right-wing of the liberal movement. The roots of conservative liberalism are found at the beginning of the history of liberalism; until the two World Wars, in most European countries the political class was formed by conservative liberals, from Germany to Italy. Events after World War I brought the more radical version of classical liberalism to a more conservative type of liberalism. Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies within the United States and Canada which combine libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism, its four main branches are constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. They differ from paleoconservatives, in that they are in favor of more personal and economic freedom. Agorists such as Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled libertarian conservatism right-libertarianism.
In contrast to paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to any national bank and opposition to business regulations. They are vehemently opposed to environmental regulations, corporate welfare and other areas of economic intervention. Many conservatives in the United States, be
Israel the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west and Egypt to the southwest; the country contains geographically diverse features within its small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition. Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age; the Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was conquered by the Babylonian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces.
The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, expulsion of Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187; the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and British Mandate Palestine.
In 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency, rejected by Arab leaders; the following year, the Jewish Agency declared the independence of the State of Israel, the subsequent 1948 Arab–Israeli War saw Israel's establishment over most of the former Mandate territory, while the West Bank and Gaza were held by neighboring Arab states. Israel has since fought several wars with Arab countries, since the Six-Day War in 1967 held occupied territories including the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip, it extended its laws to the Golan East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories is the world's longest military occupation in modern times. Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in a final peace agreement. However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have been signed.
In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a democratic state. The country has a liberal democracy, with a parliamentary system, proportional representation, universal suffrage; the prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature. Israel is a developed country and an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member, with the 32nd-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product as of 2017; the country benefits from a skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Furthermore, Israel ranked 11th in the UN's 2018 World Happiness Report. Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name "State of Israel" after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel and Judea, were considered but rejected.
In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term "Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett. The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish people respectively; the name "Israel" in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel. Jacob and his sons had lived in Canaan but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years, until Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "Exodus"; the earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word "Israel" as a collective is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt. The area is known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith.
Under British Mandate, the whole region was known as Palestine (Hebre
Italian Social Republic
The Italian Social Republic and known as the Republic of Salò, was a German puppet state with limited recognition, created during the part of World War II, existing from the beginning of German occupation of Italy in September 1943 until the surrender of German troops in Italy in May 1945. The Italian Social Republic was the second and last incarnation of the Italian Fascist state and was led by Duce Benito Mussolini and his reformed anti-monarchist Republican Fascist Party which tried to modernise and revise fascist doctrine into a more moderate and sophisticated direction; the state declared Rome its capital, but was de facto centered on Salò, a small town on Lake Garda, near Brescia, where Mussolini and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were headquartered. The Italian Social Republic exercised nominal sovereignty in Northern and Central Italy, but was dependent on German troops to maintain control. In July 1943, after the Allies had pushed Italy out of North Africa and subsequently invaded Sicily, the Grand Fascist Council—with the support of King Victor Emmanuel III—overthrew and arrested Mussolini.
The new government began secret peace negotiations with the Allied powers. When the Armistice of Cassibile was announced 8 September, Germany was prepared and intervened. Germany seized control of the northern half of Italy, freed Mussolini and brought him to the German-occupied area to establish a satellite regime; the Italian Social Republic was proclaimed on 23 September 1943. Although the RSI claimed sovereignty over most of Italian territory, its de facto jurisdiction only extended to a vastly reduced portion of Italy; the RSI received diplomatic recognition from only Germany and their puppet states. Around 25 April 1945–nineteen months after the RSI's founding–it all but collapsed. In Italy, this day is known as Liberation Day. On this day a general partisan uprising, alongside the efforts of Allied forces during their final offensive in Italy, managed to oust the Germans from Italy entirely. On 27 April, partisans caught Mussolini, his mistress, several RSI ministers and several other Italian Fascists while they were attempting to flee.
On 28 April, the partisans shot most of the other captives. The RSI Minister of Defense Rodolfo Graziani surrendered what was left of the Italian Social Republic on 1 May, one day after the German forces in Italy capitulated, putting a definitive end to the Italian Social Republic. On 24 July 1943, after the Allied landings in Sicily on a motion by Dino Grandi the Grand Fascist Council voted a motion of no confidence in Mussolini. Mussolini's position had been undermined by a series of military defeats from the start of Italy's entry into the war in June 1940, including the bombing of Rome, the loss of the African colonies and the Allied invasions of Sicily and the southern Italian Peninsula; the next day, King Victor Emmanuel III ordered him arrested. By this time, the monarchy, a number of Fascist government members and the general Italian population had grown tired of the futile war effort which had driven Italy into subordination and subjugation under Nazi Germany; the failed war effort left Mussolini humiliated at home and abroad as a "sawdust Caesar".
Under Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the new government began secret negotiations with the Allied powers and made preparations for the capitulation of Italy. These surrender talks implied a commitment from Badoglio not only to leave the Axis alliance, but to have Italy declare war on Germany. While the Germans formally recognised the new status quo in Italian politics, they intervened by sending some of the best units of the Wehrmacht to Italy; this was done both to resist new Allied advances and to face the predictably imminent defection of Italy. While Badoglio continued to swear loyalty to Germany and the Axis powers, Italian government emissaries prepared to sign an armistice at Cassibile in Allied-occupied Sicily, finalized on 3 September. On 8 September, Badoglio announced Italy's armistice with the Allies. German Führer Adolf Hitler and his staff, long aware of the negotiations, acted by ordering German troops to seize control of Northern and Central Italy; the Germans disarmed the Italian troops and took over all of the Italian Army's materials and equipment.
The Germans dissolved the Italian occupation zone in southeastern France and forced Italian troops stationed there to leave. The Italian armed forces were not given clear orders to resist the Germans following the armistice and so resistance to the German takeover was scattered and of little effect. King Victor Emmanuel made no effort to rally resistance to the Germans, instead fleeing with his retinue to the safety of the Allied lines; the new Italian government had moved Mussolini from place to place while he was in captivity in an attempt to foil any attempts at rescue. Despite this, the Germans pinpointed Mussolini at the Campo Imperatore Hotel at Gran Sasso. On 12 September, Mussolini was liberated by the Germans in Operation Eiche in the mountains of Abruzzo, while the Italian carabinieri were placed under orders to not fire their weapons at the raiders, rendering them defenseless. After being liberated, Mussolini was flown to Bavaria. Gathering what support he still had among the Italian population, his liberation made it possible for a new German-dependent Fascist Italian state to be created.
Three days following his rescue in the Gran Sasso raid, Mussolini was taken to
The People of Freedom
The People of Freedom was a centre-right political party in Italy. The PdL, launched by Silvio Berlusconi on 18 November 2007, was a federation of political parties, notably including Forza Italia and National Alliance, which participated as a joint election list in the 2008 general election; the federation was transformed into a party during a party congress on 27–29 March 2009. The party's leading members included Angelino Alfano, Renato Schifani, Renato Brunetta, Roberto Formigoni, Maurizio Sacconi, Maurizio Gasparri, Mariastella Gelmini, Antonio Martino, Giancarlo Galan, Maurizio Lupi, Gaetano Quagliariello, Daniela Santanchè, Sandro Bondi and Raffaele Fitto; the PdL formed Italy's government from 2008 to 2011 in coalition with Lega Nord. After having supported Mario Monti's technocratic government in 2011–2012, the party was part of Enrico Letta's government with the Democratic Party, Civic Choice and the Union of the Centre. Alfano functioned as Deputy Prime Minister of the Interior. In June 2013 Berlusconi announced Forza Italia's revival and the PdL's transformation into a centre-right coalition.
On 16 November 2013 the PdL's national council voted to dissolve the party and start a new Forza Italia. In the run-up to the 2006 general election there was talk among the House of Freedoms coalition's member parties on merging into a "united party of moderates and reformers". Forza Italia, National Alliance and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats all seemed interested in the project. Soon after the election, however, UDC leader Pier Ferdinando Casini, a reluctant coalition partner, started to distance from its historical allies. Another party of the coalition, Lega Nord, showed no interest in the idea, because of its character as a regionalist party. On 2 December 2006, during a big rally of the centre-right in Rome against Romano Prodi's government, Silvio Berlusconi proposed the foundation of a "freedom party", stressing that centre-right voters were all part of a single "people of freedom". On 21 August 2007 Michela Brambilla, president of the Circles of Freedom, registered the name and the symbol of the "Freedom Party" on Berlusconi's behalf, but none of Berlusconi's allies seemed interested in joining such a party and some leading FI dignitaries looked disappointed.
On 18 November 2007, Berlusconi claimed that his supporters had collected over 7 million signatures on an appeal demanding the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to call a fresh general election. Shortly afterwards, from the running board of a car in a crowded Piazza San Babila in Milan, he announced that FI would soon merge or transform into a new "party of the Italian people"; the new course was thus called the "running board revolution" and this expression soon became popular both among Berlusconi's supporters and his adversaries. At the beginning, the fate of FI remained unclear, it was explained that the new party's core would consist of FI, the Circles of Freedom and other grassroots groups, that some minor parties of the House of Freedoms would join too. AN leader Gianfranco Fini made critical statements in the days after Berlusconi's announcement, declaring the end of his support for Berlusconi as candidate for Prime Minister and that his party would not join the new party.
UDC leader Casini criticized the idea from the start and seemed interested in an alternative coalition with Fini. On 24 January 2008, the Prodi II Cabinet fell as a result of the political crisis, paving the way for a new general election; the day after Berlusconi hinted that FI would contest its last election, postponed the foundation of the new party until after the election. In an atmosphere of reconciliation with Fini, Berlusconi stated that the new party could involve the participation of other parties. On 8 February and Fini agreed to form a joint list under the banner of The People of Freedom, in alliance with LN. Several parties and groups chose to join the PdL: FI, AN, the Circles of Freedom, the Circles of Good Government, the Liberal Populars, Christian Democracy for the Autonomies, the Pensioners' Party, Liberal Reformers, the Italian Republican Party, the New Italian Socialist Party, the Liberal Democrats, Decide!, Italians in the World, Social Action, the Libertarian Right and the Reformist Socialists.
In the 2008 general election, the PdL won 37.4% of the vote, getting elected 276 deputies and 146 senators and becoming the Italian largest party. The PdL was the first party since Christian Democracy in the 1979 general election to get more than 35% of the popular vote. On 27–29 March 2009, the new party held its first congress in Rome and was founded. Berlusconi was elected president, while Sandro Bondi, Ignazio La Russa and Denis Verdini were appointed national coordinators, Maurizio Lupi organizational secretary and Daniele Capezzone spokesperson. In the 2009 European Parliament election, the party won 35.2% of the national vote, returning 29 MEPs. In the big round of regional elections of 2010, the PdL retained Lombardy with Roberto Formigoni, gained Lazio with Renata Polverini, Campania with Stefano Caldoro and Calabria with Giuseppe Scopelliti; the PdL was instrumental in the centre-right victories in Veneto and Piedmont, where two Presidents of LN, Luca Zaia and Roberto Cota were elected.
Between 2009 and 2010 Gianfranco Fini, former leader of the conservat
2001 Italian general election
A national general election was held in Italy on 13 May 2001 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The 14th Parliament of the Italian republic was chosen; the election was won by the centre-right coalition House of Freedoms led by Silvio Berlusconi, defeating Francesco Rutelli, former Mayor of Rome, Prime Ministerial candidate of the centre-left coalition The Olive Tree, rising back to power after Berlusconi's first victory, in the 1994 general election. The intricate electoral system, called scorporo, provided 75% of the seats on the Chamber of Deputies as elected by first-past-the-post system, whereas the remaining 25% was assigned on a proportional way with a minimum threshold of 4%; the method used for the Senate was more complicated: 75% of seats by uninominal method, 25% by a special proportional method that assigned the remaining seats to minority parties. Formally, these were examples of additional member systems. For this election Berlusconi again ran as leader of the centre-right coalition the House of Freedoms, which included the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, the Northern League, the National Alliance and other parties.
On the television interviews programme Porta a Porta, during the last days of the electoral campaign, Berlusconi created a powerful impression on the public by undertaking to sign a so-called Contratto con gli Italiani, an idea copied outright by his advisor Luigi Crespi from the Newt Gingrich's Contract with America introduced six weeks before the 1994 US Congressional election, considered to be a creative masterstroke in his 2001 campaign bid for prime ministership. In this solemn agreement, Berlusconi claimed his commitment on improving several aspects of the Italian economy and life. Firstly, he undertook to simplify the complex tax system by introducing just two tax rates. Fourthly, he promised to raise the minimum monthly pension rate to 516 euros. Berlusconi undertook to refrain from putting himself up for re-election in 2006 if he failed to honour at least four of these five promises. In 2001 the proportional list exhausted before all the deputies - which the winning party was entitled to - were declared elected.
Repubblica.it: About 2001 Election Corriere della Sera: About 2001 Election CNN.com: About 2001 Election Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 2001 Election Results, Chamber of Deputies Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 2001 Election Results, Senate of the Republic