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The Democratic Party and the restructuring of the Italian party system

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Out of a quickly performed merger between the Left Democrats and the Daisy, a new party has made its appearance in Italy: the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico - PD). In the summer of 2007 three candidates, Walter Veltroni, Rosy Bindi and Enrico Letta campaigned in order to convince sympathizers and supporters of that, yet non-existing party, that they were worthy of the office of Secretary of the PD. The election of Veltroni contributed to the already existing tensions within the centre-left governmental coalition that led to the demise of Prodi's government and to early elections. In April 2008, though receiving 33 per cent of the vote, the Democratic Party suffered a serious defeat. This article explores the reasons of the defeat and analyses its consequences on the restructuring of the Italian party system and the future of the Italian political system. Unless the Democratic Party is capable of finding an adequate organizational model and of expanding its electoral support beyond the areas of the traditional entrenchment of the former Communist party, the centre-right seems destined to guide Italian politics for some time to come.
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Keywords: Partito Democratico; Political parties; elections; leadership; left

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Bologna,

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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