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Gianfranco Fini (born January 3, 1952) is an Italianmarker politician, currently President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and member of the centre-right party People of Freedom. He was also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Berlusconi’s government of 2001 to 2006.

Biography

Family origins

His grandfather, a communist activist, died in 1970. His father, Argenio "Sergio" Fini (Bolognamarker 1923 - Romemarker 1998), was a volunteer with the Italian Social Republic (the nazi puppet state in Northern Italy in 1943-45); he later declared feeling close to the Italian Socialist Democratic Party, but he withdrew from political activity after his son became involved in the Movimento Sociale Italiano.

His mother, Erminia Marani (Ferraramarker 1926 - Romemarker 2008), was the daughter of Antonio Marani, who took part along with Italo Balbo in the march on Rome, which signaled the beginning of fascism in 1922. The name Gianfranco was chosen in remembrance of a cousin, who was killed when he was 20 years old by partisans soon after the liberation of Northern Italy on April 25th, 1945.

Personal events

In the 1980s he met Daniela Di Sotto, at that time married to Sergio Mariani, a friend and party officer. Mrs. Di Sotto ended her marriage to stay with Fini. Mariani would try to kill himself soon after. In 1985 they had their only daughter, Giuliana. Fini and Di Sotto married in a civil ceremony in Marino in 1988. They separated in 2007.

Five months after his separation, his relationship with Elisabetta Tulliani, a lawyer who was twenty years younger than he, was revealed. In December 2007, they had a daughter, Carolina..

Political life

From the beginning to the role of Deputy of Giorgio Almirante

Gianfranco Fini attended "Laura Bassi" high school in Bologna. His first known involvement with politics occurred in 1968 when, the 16-year-old Fini was involved in clashes with communist activists, among them a protest in front of a cinema against the projection of John Wayne's The Green Berets movie. At this time, he became involved with the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist political party.

He then began his political career in the Fronte della Gioventù (Youth Front), MSI youth organization.

Three years later, he moved with his family to Romemarker. In August 1976 he served his military service in Savonamarker, then in Romemarker at the Ministry of Defence. In 1977 he became national secretary of the Fronte della Gioventù, chosen by Giorgio Almirante, MSI secretary, notwithstanding his fifth place on seven candidates elected in the national secretariat of the youth movement.

In the meantime, Fini had also graduated with a degree in pedagogy from La Sapienzamarker University in Rome. He alsocollaborated with the party's newspaper, Secolo d'Italia, along with the youth movement magazine Dissenso.

Fini was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies on June 26th, 1983, as a member of the MSI. Re-elected in 1987, in September he was nominated by Almirante to be his successor as the party's secretary.

In 2009 it emerged that as already in 1980 Almirante had identified Fini as one among a group of young Italians who were «young, non-fascist, non-nostalgic, who believe, as I do by now, in these institutions, in this Constitution. Because only in this way the MSI can have a future».

From the Italian Social Movement to National Alliance

Giorgio Almirante died in May of 1988, and in the party's congress in Sorrentomarker that year, Fini defeated the right wing of the party, headed by Pino Rauti, and is elected party secretary. He remained in the national secretariat of the MSI until January 1990, when in the next party congress in Riminimarker, Pino Rauti was elected secretary. But after a tough electoral defeat in administrative and regional elections in Sicily Fini returned to his role as party secretary in July 1991. He held this post until the dissolution of party in 1995.

During his time as national secretary, he confirmed the MSI’s role as the inheritors of Mussolini’s Fascist legacy with a number of famous polemical statements, including: "Dear comrades, MSI claims its right to refer to fascism" (1988), "We are fascists, the heirs of fascism, the fascism of the year 2000" (1991), "After almost half a century, fascism is ideally alive" (1992), "There are phases where freedom is not among the key values" (1994), " Mussolini was the greatest Italian statesman of the twentieth century" , "Fascism has a tradition of honesty, correctness and good government" (1994).

Im the autumn of 1993, Fini ran for mayor of Romemarker, garnering enough votes to participate in a runoff election that resulted in the victory of Francesco Rutelli. Nevertheless, for the first time an MSI candidate received a large support in a major election. Silvio Berlusconi, then an entrepreneur but not involved in politics, affirmed on that occasion his preference for Fini: "If I had to vote in Rome, my preference would go to Fini.

After Berlusconi's election in 1994, for the first time in Italy's politics, an Italian government include four ministers from the MSI party, including the Deputy Prime Minister Giuseppe Tatarella, although Fini did not directly take part as a minister. (Fini was not a minister at that time.)

Towards the end of the 1990s Fini gradually began to move the MSI away from its neo-fascist ideology to a more traditionally conservative political agenda. In January 1995, the Party's congress in Fiuggimarker marked a radical change, afterwards referred to as la svolta di Fiuggi (the turning point at Fiuggi) and merged the MSI-DN with conservative elements of the disbanded Christian Democrats to form the National Alliance (AN), of which Fini assumed the presidency.

The new party took a decisive stance apart from fascism, and some MSI members (Pino Rauti, Erra, Staiti) dissented and seceded to form the new Tricolor Flame party.

Government experiences

Fini and his party have been part of Berlusconi's right-wing House of Freedoms coalition which won the 1994 and 2001 parliamentary election. Fini became deputy prime minister in 2001 and foreign minister in November 2004.

From February 2002 to 2006, he represented the Italian Government at the European Convention. Following the April 2008 general election, Fini was elected President of the Chamber of Deputies on April 30, 2008 on the fourth ballot, receiving 355 votes.

His most widely known legislative acts have been:
  • The Bossi-Fini Act, a restrictive legislation on immigration;
  • The Fini-Giovanardi Act (2006), a restrictive legislation on drugs. The act abolish any distinction between sotf drugs (cannabis) and hard drugs (heroine, cocaine), punishing the user on the base of the quantity of active ingredient in the dose. As administrative sanctions, personal use of drugs is punished with a fee and the suspension of passport, driving license and/or weapon carring permit. The cultivation of a single plant is punished with 1 up to 6 years of imprisonment


From National Alliance to The People of Freedom

After some disband between the party's factions in 2005, a congress dismantled the factions and confirmed Fini as president of the party.

In 2006, Fini announced the removal of the symbol of the flame and of the "M.S.I." writing from AN symbol. The move, after finding opposition from party members such as Maurizio Gasparri was finally denied.

Fini began a personal evolution towards more liberal stances in the 2000s, notwithstanding the opposition of the rest of his party. In particular:
  • in 2005 he announced a positive vote (three yes, one no) on a referendum on artificial insemination aimed at removing some limits introduced by the Act n.40/2004 of the same Berlusconi III Cabinet.
  • in December 2006 he declared he would be in favour of public acknowledgement of civil unions, including homosexual ones, although in opposition anyway to the centre-left government proposed bill on the theme.


At the end of January 2007, Berlusconi declared Fini would be his only successor in case of unification of centre-right parties, finding dissent from the Northern League and the UDC.

In 2008 Berlusconi proclaimed the dissolution of his Forza Italia party and the birth of a new unitary party of the centre-right, the People of Freedoms. At first, Fini reacted coldly, affirming that AN would not participate, judging confused and superficial the way the new party was born, and expressing an open dissent against his ally of the "former coalition".

Anyway, two months later, he gets close to Berlusconi again, soon after the fall of the Prodi II Cabinet. They agree to present the two party under the same symbol of the People of Freedoms in the April 2008 parliamentary election, to proceed then towards a unitary centre-right party.

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies

After the eletoral victory, on 30 April 2008 Fini is elected President (speaker) of the Chamber of Deputies, with 335 votes on 611, on the fourth roll call. He then announce to leave the presidency of AN, while waiting for the unification in the People of Freedoms.

Commenting the hommage of the President of the Republic to every victim of terrorism, the former PCI Giorgio Napolitano, he announced the «the end of post-war period», of « the cleavage between the right and the society», and the «overcoming of the condition of minority»

Going on in his path of revision of the values of the Italian right, at the 2008 youth fest Atreju 2008 he asserted that the Right has to acknowledge those rights «present in the Constitution: freedom, equality and social justice. Values that led and still lead the the path of the Right, that are values of any democracy and that are fully anti-fascist».

In his role of Speaker of the Chamber, he rebuked more than once the government over the use of confidence votes, criticizing theirs estensive use.

He fought against the bad costumes of absenteeism and double-voting of MPs in the Italian Parliament, promoting a digital voting system (to be implemented from March 2009) to impede MPs from voting for absent members, judging it "immoral" 19 MPs over 630 refused, however, to allow their fingerprints to be recorded, and the system was implemented on a voluntary base.

He also negatively judged the will of the Berlusconi government to intervene with a decree on the case of Eluana Englaro and supported the need to defend the secularism of the State, being then criticized from members of UDC and of his same party.

Controversies

The most usual criticism to Fini from the Right side are linked with the move from the traditional stances of the party. Apart of the "Social Right" area of his tradition rival Pino Rauti, the right-wing intellectual Marcello Veneziani accused Fini to have tied any link with the right-wing thought (whether traditional, nostalgic, modern or conservative) and to represent by now an "astral" right, with no similarity to other European rights.

Further criticism came to Fini from the Northern League with respect to some aspects of federalism and immigration, and from Forza Italia regarding justice.

Fini was lately accused of being incoherent from some "teo-con" members, for his position in favor of the natural family while being separated and never married in Church.

  • In 1999 Fini asked for forced hospitalization of drug consumers, without distinctions between different illegal drugs.
  • On January 29, 2006, after the approval by the Senate of the Fini-sponsored drug bill (equiparation of marijuana to class 1 drugs such as heroin or cocaine for dealers and fines for consumption) Fini, guest on the popular TV-Show Che tempo che fa, hosted by Fabio Fazio, admitted to having smoked marijuana while on vacation in Jamaicamarker.


  • In May 2008, he sparked outrage when he said that the burning of an Israeli flag was much worse than the murder of a 29-year-old man in Verona, savagely beaten to death by a local group of skinheads.


  • He ignited controversy when he stated that the racial laws were not the sole responsibility of the Fascist regime, but also that Italian civil society and the Roman Catholic Church had to have their share of the blame as well.


  • In a press conference to the Foreign Press Association, was asked about his thought on Benito Mussolini. A journalist reminded him that 15 years ago he called the dictator the greatest statesman of the century, and Fini replied: "I'm fascinated by your question.... clearly the answer is in what I've done in the past 15 years." Today, Fini added, "my answer is no, I have changed my mind, otherwise I would be schizophrenic."


References

  1. Gianfranco e Daniela Ostilità dei salotti, «Corriere della Sera», 17 June 2007.
  2. Interview to Mariani
  3. Cited by Corrado De Cesare, Il fascista del Duemila. Le radici del camerata Gianfranco Fini, Kaos Edizioni, 1995, ISBN 8879530461)
  4. Gianfranco il freddo
  5. L'Occidentale, 12 May 2008
  6. Corriere della Sera, 13/09/2008
  7. Il Cannocchiale, 13/01/2009: L'ira di Fini: «Una cosa mai vista».
  8. [1]
  9. Notizie Yahoo, 22May 2009
  10. Veneziani: "Fini? La sua è una destra marziana" Il Giornale - 17 giugno 2009
  11. "Ricovero coatto per i drogati" - Le dichiarazioni di Granfranco Fini
  12. Video
  13. TIME
  14. AGI
  15. AGI


External links




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