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Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (Democrazia è Libertà – La Margherita, DL) was a centrist Italian political party. The party president and leader was Francesco Rutelli, former Mayor of Romemarker and former candidate for Prime Minister at the 2001 general election for The Olive Tree.

DL was formed by former leftist Christian Democrats, centrists (former Liberals and former Republicans), as well as more leftist politicians, especially former Socialists and Greens. It merged into the Democratic Party on 14 October 2007.


The idea of uniting the centrist components of The Olive Tree coalitions, which were divided in many parties, was discussed at least since 1996. In the 1996 general election there were actually two centrist lists within the centre-left: that of the Italian People's Party (PPI), including Democratic Union (UD), the Italian Republican Party (PRI) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP), and that of Italian Renewal (RI), including the Italian Socialists (SI), merged into the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) in 1998, and Patto Segni (PS). In 1998 splinters from the centre-right coalition formed the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR), later transformed in UDEUR Populars (UDEUR), in order to support D'Alema I Cabinet. In 1999 splinters of PPI, UD and other groups formed The Democrats (Dem).

Between 1998 and 2000, in Northeast Italy, there were several precursors of such idea at the regional and local level, notably the Reform Popular Centre in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Daisy Civic List in Trentino and Together for Veneto in Veneto. Initially some of these experiments were intended to include both Christian-inspired parties and more secular ones, such as SDI and PRI, but, in October 2000, only PPI, Dem, UDEUR and RI agreed to join forces in a joint list called "Daisy" for the 2001 general election. Daisy, led by Francesco Rutelli (who was also candidate for Prime Minister for the whole centre-left), won 14.5% of the vote, only two points less than the Democrats of the Left (DS).

Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy was established as a single party during the founding congress of Parmamarker in February 2002. In that occasion the Italian People's Party, The Democrats and Italian Renewal merged in the new party, while the Union of Democrats for Europe decided to step aside it.

In the 2006 general election, the party was member of the winning The Union coalition and won 39 out of 315 senators. The Olive Tree list, to which DL was part since the 2004 European Parliament election, won 220 seats out of 630 in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. On 14 October 2007 DL was merged with DS and numerous small parties to form the Democratic Party.


Democracy Is Freedom was a pro-European centrist party, with a strong support among Catholics, especially progressive ones. The party put together social conservatives with social progressives, economic liberals and social democrats. Many members of the former Italian People's Party, one of the ancestor parties of DL, were members or close supporters of the Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions, the Catholic trade union.

After the 2004 European elections the new party decided not to become a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party nor of the European People's Party, but formed the European Democratic Party (EDP) together with the Union for French Democracy. In the European Parliamentmarker, DL joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group.

In 2005 DL participated in the foundation of the Alliance of Democrats, a worldwide network of centrist parties, along with the New Democrat Coalition of the United States Democratic Party, the EDP member parties and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.


Leading members of the party included:


DL was mainly composed of four factions, the first three of them supporting Francesco Rutelli's leadership:

Popular support

The electoral results of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy in the 10 most populated Regions of Italy are shown in the table below. As DL was founded in 2002, the electoral results from 1994 to 2001 refer to the combined result of the precursor parties.

The results of 1994 (general) refer to the combined result of PPI, Patto Segni and AD, those of 1994 to the combined result of PPI and Pact of Democrats (joint-list of Patto Segni and AD, including also SI), those of 1996 (general and Sicilian regional) to the combined result of the joint-list of PPI and UD and RI (whose list comprised Patto Segni and SI), those of 1999 (European) and 2000 (regional) to the combined result of PPI, Dem and RI, those of 2001 (general and Sicilian regional) the DL federation (comprising at the time PPI, Dem, UDEUR Populars and RI).

From 2004 (European) the results refer to DL, formed by PPI, Dem and RI, after the defection of UDEUR. The result for the 2006 general election refers to the election for the Senate, indeed DL contested the election for the Chamber of Deputies in a joint list with Democrats of the Left.

1994 general 1995 regional 1996 general 1999 European 2000 regional 2001 general 2004 European 2005 regional 2006 general
Piedmont 13.1 9.7 9.7 11.3 7.9 15.1 with Ulivo 10.4 11.7
Lombardy 15.0 9.4 10.4 10.1 with Ulivo 15.1 with Ulivo with Ulivo 10.0
Veneto 21.1 15.0 13.3 12.7 13.7 14.9 with Ulivo with Ulivo 11.9
Emilia-Romagna 14.8 9.3 11.8 10.9 7.7 15.5 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.4
Tuscany 15.7 6.4 10.0 9.1 6.9 13.4 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.0
Lazio 14.4 6.0 10.0 11.9 9.6 16.1 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.1
Campania 16.8 13.8 12.2 17.9 18.7 12.1 with Ulivo 16.0 12.8
Apulia 22.2 13.6 8.9 16.7 13.7 16.1 with Ulivo 9.7 11.1
Calabria 19.8 15.1 11.0 18.0 13.4 10.7 with Ulivo 14.5 10.3
Sicily 14.2 12.3 (1996) 10.1 19.6 12.3 (2001) 13.9 with Ulivo 12.0 (2006) 11.8
ITALY 18.9 - 11.1 14.6 - 14.5 - - 10.5


An election campaign street stall for DL in Milan, 2004

See also


  1. Forza Italia failed to present a list and thus some centre-right voters voted for PPI and Patto Segni.

External links

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