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The Democratic Party of the Left (Partito Democratico della Sinistra, PDS) was a post-communist, democratic socialist political party in Italymarker.


It was founded in 1991 as the evolution of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in a democratic socialist direction. Its first leader was Achille Occhetto, the last secretary of the PCI.

The logo of the PDS consisted mainly of an oak tree that retained, in a roundel at the tree's roots, the previous symbol of the PCI: this was done both to indicate the party's roots, but did not prevent hardliners leaving the party and launching the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC). Thus the logo was also adopted in order to prevent the PRC from making usage of the symbol immediately after the split between the two parties.

In the 1994 general election Occhetto was the leader of the Alliance of Progressives but he lost to Silvio Berlusconi. In the election's aftermath, Massimo D'Alema was elected new party secretary. In the 1996 general election, after the collapse of Berlusconi's coalition, the PDS was part of the winning coalition, The Olive Tree, led by Romano Prodi. In the Prodi I Cabinet, a leading member of the PDS, Giorgio Napolitano, became Minister of the Interior.

In 1997 D'Alema called for the party to become more of a European social democratic party and in 1998 was transformed in Democrats of the Left, after the merger with Labour Federation, Social Christians, Republican Left, Unitarian Communists, Reformists for Europe and Democratic Federation. On this occasion the party decided to replace the hammer and sickle of its emblem with the red rose of European social democracy.



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