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The Italian Republican Party (Partito Repubblicano Italiano, PRI) is a liberal political party in Italy.

It is a liberal party with old liberal roots in Italymarker, that originally took a left-wing position, claiming descent from the political position of Giuseppe Mazzini. The party is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.

Recent history


In 1992–1994 the PRI lost most of its voters and members in the wake of the Tangentopoli scandal. The party was divided in three groups: one led by Giorgio La Malfa joined the Pact for Italy, a second one led by Luciana Sbarbati joined Democratic Alliance and a third group left the party and formed Republican Left. In the 1994 general election some PRI members, including Sbarbati, were elected to the Italian Parliament from the Democratic Alliance's list, while others, including Carla Mazzuca, were elected with Patto Segni. At that time the party seemed almost disbanded.

Moreover many Republican politicians, including Jas Gawronski, Guglielmo Castagnetti, Alberto Zorzoli, Luigi Casero, Denis Verdini, Piergiorgio Massidda and Mario Pescante, abandoned the PRI in order to join Forza Italia. Others, mostly affiliated to Republican Left, including Giorgio Bogi, Stefano Passigli, Giuseppe Ayala, Andrea Manzella and Adolfo Battaglia, approached with the Democratic Party of the Left and finally merged into the Democrats of the Left in 1998. Others, notably including Enzo Bianco and Antonio Maccanico, joined Democratic Union, The Democrats and finally Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy.

However the party continued to exist under the leadership of La Malfa, who had been elected to the European Parliamentmarker in the 1994 European election and who worked hard to re-organize the party, welcoming back people such as Sbarbati who had left it in the wake of the 1994 general election.

From Prodi to Berlusconi

From 1996 to 2001 the PRI was part of The Olive Tree centre-left coalition led by Romano Prodi. In 1996 general election the party had two deputies (Giorgio La Malfa and Luciana Sbarbati) and two senators (Antonio Duva and Stelio De Carolis, thanks to the alliance with larger parties. Duva and De Carolis switched to the Democrats of the Left soon after the election, but during the legislature the PRI was joined by three more deputies elected with other parties: Gianantonio Mazzocchin, Giovanni Marongiu (both former Democrats of the Left) and Luigi Negri (former member of Lega Nord and Forza Italia).

The Republicans were highly disappointed by the five years of government of the centre-left, during which they had been critical supporters within The Clover, a parliamentary alliance they had formed with the Italian Democratic Socialists and the Union for the Republic in 1999. The Clover was decisive for the centre-left having the majority in the Chambet of Deputies and in fact it caused Massimo D'Alema to resign as Prime Minister of Italy in December 1999, before being sworn again some days later.

In 2001 the party formed an alliance with Silvio Berlusconi's House of Freedoms and got one deputy (Giorgio La Malfa) and one senator (Antonio Del Pennino) elected. This led two left-wing groups to secede from the party: the European Republican Movement, led by Luciana Sbarbati, and the Democratic Republicans, led by Giuseppe Ossorio. The PRI participated to Berlusconi's third government having Giorgio La Malfa as Minister of European Affairs and Francesco Nucara as Deputy-Minister of the Environment.

In the 2006 general election Francesco Nucara and Giorgio La Malfa were elected on the Forza Italia's lists for the Chamber of Deputies, while the party decided to run under its own banner for the Senate. Anyway Antonio Del Pennino was elected senator on Forza Italia's list.

Autonomous within the centre-right

In March 2007 the party formed a federation with the Italian Liberal Party, named Republicans, Liberals, Reformers and subsequently formed a political group with the same name in the Chamber of Deputies along with Giovanni Ricevuto, a former member of the New Italian Socialist Party. The alliance was soon disbanded as the Liberals did not follow the Republicans into the centre-right.

In the 2008 general election PRI got two deputies elected in the list of The People of Freedom (PdL), Giorgio La Malfa and Francesco Nucara. After the election, the former joined the PdL group, while the latter the Mixed Group, due to the divergences between them. On 21 July Nucara formed a joint-group along with the two deputies of the Liberal Democrats. In early September also La Malfa joined the small sub-group.

The common battle in Parliament against electoral reform favored a reconciliation between the MRE and the PRI. During the III congress of the MRE in February 2009 the two parties signed a joint declarationunder which, despite their different coalition allegiances, the two parties pledge to join forces in Parliament on some key issues such as civil liberties and freedom of research. In October a joint committee was installed in order to reach an agreement of re-unification of the two parties.

For the next regional election in Calabria and in other regions of the South the PRI formed an alliance with the UDEUR Populars.

Popular support

Throughout the Kingdom of Italy the Republicans, along with the other political party of the "far left", the Radicals, were strong especially among the rural workers in Romagnamarker, in the Marche and around Romemarker. In the 1890s they suffered the competition with the Italian Socialist Party for the single-seat constituencies of Emilia-Romagna, where both parties had their heartlands. However, in the 1900 general election the PRI won 4.3% of the vote (7.3% in Lombardy, 9.6% in Emilia-Romagna, 15.0% in the Marche, 9.6% in Umbria and 7.2% in Apuliamarker) and 29 seats from several regions of Italy, including also Veneto and Sicily, where they had some local strongholds. After that the Republicans were reduced almost to their power base in Romagna and Northern Marche, where the party had more than 40% and where most of their deputies came from. That was why the party, which was little more than a regional party, lost many seats when proportional representation was introduced in 1919.

In the 1946 general election, the first after World War II, despite the competition with the Action Party, which had a similar constituency and regional base, the PRI won 4.4% of the vote, with peaks in its traditional strongholds: around 21% in Romagna (32.5% in Forlìmarker and 37.3% in Ravennamarker), 16.4% in the Marche (26.6% in Anconamarker and 32.9% in Jesimarker), 11.0% in Umbria and 15.2% in Lazio. However the PRI soon lost its character of mass party in those areas, although it retained some of its positions there, as the Italian Communist Party conquered most of formerly Republican workers' votes, and the party settled around 1-2% at the national level in the 1950s and 1960s.

Since the 1970s, under the leadership of Giovanni Spadolini, they Republicans gained support among educated middle-class voters, losing some ground in their traditional strongholds but also increasing their share of vote somewhere else, notably in Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria, where they became a strong competitor to the Italian Liberal Party for a constituency composed of entrepreneurs and professionals. This resulted in a recovery of the party, which had its highest peak in the 1983 general election: after that Spadolini had been Prime Minister of Italy for barely two years, the party enjoyed a bounce which lead it to the 5.1% of the vote. This time the the PRI did fairly better in Piedmont (7.7%, 10.3% in Turinmarker and 12.8% in Cuneomarker) and Lombardy (6.9%, 12.3% in Milanmarker) that in Emilia-Romagna (5.1%) and the Marche (4.7%) on the whole. The party however did very well in its local strongholds such as the Province of Forlì-Cesena (11.3%) and the Province of Ravenna (13.9%).

In the 1992 general election, the last before the Tangentopoli scandals, the PRI won 4.4% of the vote (+0.7% from 1987), one of the best results for the party thanks to the increase of votes from the South, which can be considered the Indian summer of the party before the 1992–1994 storm. With the end of the First Republic the party was severely diminished in term of votes, but continued its political activity, by retreating to old and new strongholds, mainly in Southern Italy, where the party took roots in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. After that most Republicans from the Marche left the party to join the European Republicans Movement in 2001 and most Republicans from Campania switched to the Democratic Republicans, the PRI was left only with Romagna (where the local party is affiliated to the centre-left) and its new heartlands in Calabria and Sicily.

In the 2004 European Parliament election the party won 3.8% of the vote in Calabria, while it gained a surprising 9.4% in the provincial election of Messina in 2008. In Romagna, in alliance with the centre-left, the party won the 4.2% of the vote in the provincial election of Forlì-Cesena in 2004 and 3.8% in Ravenna in 2006 (6.1% in the municipalmarker election).


Secretaries since 1945:

Presidents since 1965:


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