The People of Freedom


The People of Freedom

Infobox_Italian_political_party
name_english = The People of Freedom

leader = Silvio Berlusconi
leader1_title =
leader1_name =
leader2_title =
leader2_name =
leader3_title =
leader3_name =
leader4_title =
leader4_name =
foundation = 18 November 2007
dissolution =
headquarters = "not yet decided"
newspaper = Il Giornale della Libertà
membership_year=
membership = "unknown"
ideology = Liberal conservatism [http://www.parties-and-elections.de/italy.html Parties and Elections in Europe ] ]
with Christian-democratic, liberal, national-conservative and social-democratic factions
coalition =
international = "not yet decided"
european = "not yet decided"
europarl = "not yet decided"
website = http://www.ilpopolodellaliberta.it
colorcode = blue

The People of Freedom ("Il Popolo della Libertà", PdL) is a liberal-conservative Italian political party. In coalition with Lega Nord and the Movement for Autonomy, it currently forms Italy's government.

The party was launched by Silvio Berlusconi on 18 November 2007 and its official foundation is expected to be in the beginning of 2008, after that all the parties which intend to merge into it would have been formally dissolved. On 18 September the Constituent Committee of the party held its first meeting in Rome. [http://iltempo.ilsole24ore.com/adnkronos/?q=YToxOntzOjEyOiJ4bWxfZmlsZW5hbWUiO3M6MjE6IkFETjIwMDgwOTE3MTE0MTAwLnhtbCI7fQ=]

History

Premises

Following the run-up to the 2006 general election there had been talk among the components of the House of Freedoms regarding a possible merger into a "united party of the moderates and reformers". Forza Italia (FI), the National Alliance (AN) and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC) all seemed interested in the project. Soon after the election, anyway, UDC leader Pier Ferdinando Casini started to distance his party from its historical allies. Lega Nord (LN) showed no interest in the idea, because it wanted to retain its role as regional party.

On 2 December 2006, during a big demonstration of the centre-right in Rome against the government of Romano Prodi, Silvio Berlusconi proposed the foundation of a "Freedom Party", stressing that voters of the different parties were all part of a "people of freedom".

On 21 August 2007 Michela Vittoria Brambilla, protégé of Berlusconi and President of the Circles of Freedom, registered the name and symbol of the new party on Berlusconi's behalf. At that time, none of Berlusconi's allies seemed keen on joining the new party; it was also not yet absolutely clear when Forza Italia would be dismantled to merge into the new party. Berlusconi also claimed that one of the aims of the creation of a Freedom Party was to enlarge the House of Freedoms alliance. [ [http://www.lifeinitaly.com/news/news-detailed.asp?newsid=6352 Berlusconi Protegee Sets Up Liberty Party ] ]

Announcement

On 18 November 2007, Berlusconi announced having collected the signatures of more than 7 million Italians (including that of Umberto Bossi of Lega Nord) against Romano Prodi's government, also asking a fresh election, and that Forza Italia would soon merge or transform into the "Party of the People of Freedom". [ [http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/2007/novembre/19/Berlusconi_show_Forza_Italia_addio_co_9_071119084.shtml Berlusconi show «Forza Italia addio Nuovo partito» ] ] The new party's definitive name was chosen in an open primary election on 1-2 December 2007 between "People of Freedom" ("Popolo della Libertà") and "Freedom Party" ("Partito della Libertà"). [ [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=24&art_id=nw20071202230647807C696272 IOL: Berlusconi names his fledgling party ] ] Also an online poll on Forza Italia's website was launched [ [http://blog.panorama.it/italia/2007/11/20/che-vuol-dire-pdl-gli-elettori-di-berlusconi-decidono-on-line-tra-popolo-e-partito Panorama: gli elettori di Berlusconi decidono on line tra popolo e partito] ] , but there was no official statement from PdL about the fate of the online votes.

At that time, the fate of Forza Italia as a party remained unclear. It was thought that the new party's core would consist of Forza Italia, the Circles of Freedom and the Circles of Good Government, while some minor parties of the House of Freedoms, including the Christian Democracy for the Autonomies [ [http://notizie.alice.it/notizie/search/index.html?filter=foglia&nsid=13651707&mod=foglia | | ALICE Notizie ] ] , the New Italian Socialist Party [ [http://www.partitosocialista.org/248-apc-berlusconi-caldoro-nuovo-psi-pronto-a-processo-unitario/ √ Partito Socialista Nuovo Psi - » Apc-Berlusconi/ Caldoro: Nuovo Psi Pronto A Processo Unitario ] ] , the Pensioners' Party [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/07_dicembre_15/berlusconi_appello_alleati_622e45c6-ab11-11dc-a893-0003ba99c53b.shtml «Alleati, vi voglio un mare di bene». Corriere della Sera ] ] , the Liberal Reformers [ [http://www.riformatoriliberali.it/2007/11/19/cdl-della-vedova-impossibile-riformare-il-sistema-politico-senza-o-contro-berlusconi/ Riformatori Liberali » CdL: Della Vedova, Impossibile riformare il sistema politico senza o contro Berlusconi ] ] , Decide! [http://www.decidere.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=413&Itemid=1] and Italians in the World [ [http://www.sergiodegregorio.com/2007/12/10/partito-delle-liberta-de-gregorio-inm-partecipera-a-fase-costituente/ Il Blog di Sergio De Gregorio » Blog Archive » Partito delle libertà , De Gregorio: InM parteciperà a fase costituente ] ] were likely to join. Carlo Giovanardi, leader of the Liberal Popular faction within UDC, which favoured closer relations with Berlusconi, stated that UDC should dissolve and become part of the new party. [http://www.agi.it/italy/news/200711191442-pol-ren0046-art.html] [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/07_novembre_19/giovanardi_ucd_inutile.shtml L'Udc si spacca sull'idea di Berlusconi. Corriere della Sera ] ] On 27 November Giovanardi announced that he would definitely join the new party [http://www.carlogiovanardi.it/immagini/gio27no.pdf] and he finally did this on 4 February 2008. [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/08_febbraio_04/giovanardi_udc_dimission_6ddf3a36-d331-11dc-8916-0003ba99c667.shtml Giovanardi lascia l'Udc per il Pdl Corriere della Sera ] ]

Gianfranco Fini made very critical statements in the days after Berlusconi's announcement, declaring the end of his support for Berlusconi as candidate for Prime Minister and that National Alliance would not join the new party. [http://www.agi.it/italy/news/200711202017-pol-ren0100-art.html] [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/19/europe/EU-POL-Italy-Politics.php Key Berlusconi ally says he won't enter former premier's new party - International Herald Tribune ] ] Also Pier Ferdinando Casini, UDC leader, criticized from the beginning the idea.

2008 general election

After the sudden fall of Romano Prodi's government on 24 January 2008, the break-up of The Union coalition and the subsequent political crisis which lead to a fresh election, Berlusconi hinted on 25 January that Forza Italia would probably contest its last election, and that the new party would be founded officially only "after" that election. In an atmosphere of reconciliation with Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi also stated that the new party could see the participation of other parties. [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/08_gennaio_25/berlusconi_napoli_a48218f8-cb73-11dc-9e0e-0003ba99c667.shtml «Via l'Ici e stretta sulle intercettazioni» Corriere della Sera ] ] Finally, on 8 February, Berlusconi and Fini agreed to form a joint list under the banner of "The People of Freedom", allied with Lega Nord. [ [http://www.lastampa.it/redazione/cmsSezioni/politica/200802articoli/29934girata.asp Svolta di Berlusconi, arriva il Pdl: "Forza Italia-An sotto stesso simbolo" - LASTAMPA.it ] ]

Among the several parties and groups which decided to join the PdL were: Forza Italia, National Alliance, the Freedom Circles, the Circles of Good Government, the Liberal Populars [ [http://www.carlogiovanardi.it/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=496 Carlo Giovanardi - Pdl: Giovanardi, Aderiamo A Progetto Berlusconi ] ] , Christian Democracy for the Autonomies [http://www.agi.it/ultime-notizie-page/200802081045-pol-rom1039-art.html] , the Pensioners' Party, the Liberal Reformers [ [http://www.riformatoriliberali.it/2008/02/08/popolo-delle-liberta-della-vedova-pieno-sostegno-a-progetto-berlusconi-l%e2%80%99adesione-dei-riformatori-liberali/ Riformatori Liberali » Popolo delle Libertà: Della Vedova, Pieno sostegno a progetto Berlusconi. L’adesione dei Riformatori Liberali ] ] , the Italian Republican Party, the New Italian Socialist Party, the Liberal Democrats [ [http://www.repubblica.it/news/ired/ultimora/politica/rep_politica_n_2895907.html La Repubblica.it » Politica » News ] ] , Decide! [ [http://www.clandestinoweb.com/number-news/capezzone-proposta-alla-cdl-10-decreti-legge-serve-terapia-2.html CAPEZZONE: proposta alla CDL, 10 Decreti legge, serve terapia d'urto - Clandestinoweb: sondaggi politici, elettorali. Il sondaggio politico elettorale che fa opinione ] ] , Italians in the World, Social Action [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/08_febbraio_09/mussolini_pdl_adesione_592ac4ae-d71c-11dc-b781-0003ba99c667.shtml Alessandra Mussolini: «Convinti nel Pdl» Corriere della Sera ] ] and the Reformist Socialists [http://www.socialistiriformisti.com/il%20garofanorosso%20online%20n.44.pdf] . UDC was also invited to join, but its leaders refused to do so. [ [http://www.corriere.it/politica/08_febbraio_08/an_fi_2c7def76-d618-11dc-88e3-0003ba99c667.shtml La lista unica spacca il centrodestra Corriere della Sera ] ] The Right also refused to join PdL.

In the general election PdL won 37.4% of the vote, getting elected 276 deputies and 146 senators, and became the Italian largest party. PdL was also the the first party since Christian Democracy in 1979 to surpass the 35% of the national vote.

Popular support

The People of Freedom has its strongholds in Northern Italy, especially Lombardy and Veneto, and in some regions of the South, notably Sicily and Apulia. Despite this, in the 2008 general election, the party was fairly stronger in the South, where there are more swing voters, than in the North, due to the big win of Lega Nord, which scored 27.1% in Veneto, 21.6% in Lombardy and 12.6% in Piedmont. In this respect the region where PdL scored best is Campania, with a surprising 49.1% in a traditionally centre-left region.

The electoral results of the People of Freedom in the 10 most populated Regions of Italy are shown in the table below. As PdL was launched in 2007, the electoral results from 1994 to 2006 refer to the combined result of the two main percursor parties, Forza Italia and National Alliance.

Leadership

*Party Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Fabrizio Cicchitto (2008–...)
*Party Leader in the Senate: Maurizio Gasparri (2008–...)

References

ee also

*List of People of Freedom leading members by political origin

External links

* [http://www.ilpopolodellaliberta.it Official website]


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