Communist Refoundation Party
Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
SecretaryMaurizio Acerbo
FounderArmando Cossutta
Founded6 January 1991[1]
12 December 1991[2]
Split fromItalian Communist Party
HeadquartersVia degli Scialoja 3, Rome
NewspaperLiberazione (1991–2014) Sù la testa (since 2020)
Youth wingYoung Communists
Membership (2019[3])11,496
Political positionLeft-wing[4] to far-left[5][6][7][8][9][10]
National affiliationAdP (1994–1995)
Olive Tree (1996–1998; external support)
Union (2004–2008)
SA (2008)
FdS (2009–2012)
RC (2012–2013)
AET (2014)
PaP (2017–2018)
The Left (2019)
People's Union (2022–present)
European affiliationParty of the European Left
International affiliationIMCWP
European Parliament groupEuropean United Left–Nordic Green Left
(1995–2009, 2014–2019)
Colours  Red
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 400
0 / 200
European Parliament
0 / 73
0 / 896
Party flag
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Communist Refoundation Party (Italian: Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, PRC) is a communist[11][12] political party in Italy that emerged from a split of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in 1991. The party's secretary is Maurizio Acerbo, who replaced Paolo Ferrero in 2017. Armando Cossutta was the party's founder, while Fausto Bertinotti its longest-serving leader (1994–2008). The latter transformed the PRC from a traditional communist party into a collection of radical social movements.

The PRC is a member of the Party of the European Left (PEL), of which Bertinotti was the inaugural president in 2004. The PRC has not been represented in the Italian Parliament since 2008, but had a member of the European Parliament, Eleonora Forenza, who sat with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in 2014–2019.


Foundation and early years

PRC's first congress in 1991

In February 1991, when the Italian Communist Party (PCI) was transformed into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) under the leadership of Achille Occhetto, left-wing dissidents led by Armando Cossutta launched the Movement for Communist Refoundation. Hardliners in PCI were not happy about the changes made inside the party after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Later that year, Proletarian Democracy (DP), a far-left outfit, dissolved itself so that its members could join the PCI dissidents and form a united front composed of all Italian communists. In December, the PRC was officially founded and Sergio Garavini was elected secretary. In the 1992 general election, the party obtained 5.6% of the vote.

Garavini resigned from his role as secretary in June 1993 and was replaced by Fausto Bertinotti, a trade unionist of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) who had left the PDS only a few months before. In the 1994 general election, the PRC was part of the PDS-led Alliance of Progressives and obtained 6.1% of the vote. In June 1995, a splinter group led by Lucio Magri and Famiano Crucianelli formed the Movement of Unitarian Communists (MCU), which would eventually merge with the PDS, being one of the founding members of the Democrats of the Left (DS) in February 1998.

Bertinotti vs. Cossutta

The leadership of Bertinotti was a turning point for the party, which jumped to 8.6% of vote in the 1996 general election, fought by the party in a loose alliance with The Olive Tree, the major centre-left coalition whose dominant partner was the PDS. After the election, the PRC decided to externally support the first cabinet led by Romano Prodi.

Tensions soon arose within the coalition and the party. In October 1998 the PRC was divided between those who wanted to stop supporting Prodi's government, led by Bertinotti; and those who wanted to continue the alliance, led by Cossutta, the party's president. The central committee endorsed Bertinotti's line, but Cossutta and his followers decided to ignore this line and to support Prodi. The votes of the cossuttiani were not enough and the government lost a confidence vote in Parliament.

The dissidents, who controlled the majority of deputies and senators, split and formed a rival communist party, the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI), which would soon join the first cabinet led by Massimo D'Alema, the leader of the DS, who replaced Prodi and became the first post-communist to hold the job of Prime Minister of Italy.

Deprived of most of its parliamentary representation, the PRC fought for its existence and voters supported it rather than the PdCI, both in the 1999 European Parliament election (4.3% to 2.0%) and the 2001 general election (5.0% to 1.7%).

Renewal and heyday

PRC's long-time leader Fausto Bertinotti at a party congress in 1999

Despite competition from the PdCI, the PRC confirmed its status as Italy's largest communist party. Having been left by most traditional communists, it also started to enlarge its scope aiming at becoming a collector of radical social movements and, foremost, the main representative of the anti-globalization movement in Italy. The PRC also forged new alliances at the European level and was instrumental in the foundation of the Party of the European Left in May 2004.[13][14]

In October 2004, the PRC re-joined the centre-left coalition, once again led by Prodi. In April 2005, Nichi Vendola, an openly gay politician and one of the emerging leaders of the party, won a primary election and was elected president of traditionally conservative southern region of Apulia, becoming the only regional president ever belonging to the PRC.

In the 2006 general election, the PRC was part of The Union, which won narrowly over the centre-right House of Freedoms coalition and the party obtained 5.8%. After the election, Bertinotti was elected President of the Chamber of Deputies and replaced by Franco Giordano as secretary. Additionally, for the first time it entered a government by joining the Prodi II Cabinet, with Paolo Ferrero Minister of Social Solidarity and seven undersecretaries. The decision to participate in the coalition government and vote to refinance the Italian military presence in Afghanistan and send troops to Lebanon attracted criticism from sectors of the European far-left[15] and provoked the splits of several groups from the ranks of his own party, notably including the Workers' Communist Party, the Communist Alternative Party and Critical Left. Prodi, whose majority was weak and fragmented, resigned in January 2008.

Crisis, splits and decline

For the 2008 general election, the PRC formed a joint list named Rainbow Left (SA) with the PdCI, the Federation of the Greens and the Democratic Left under Bertinotti's leadership. SA obtained a mere 3.1% (compared to 10.2% won by the constituent parties individually two years before) and no seats. Consequently, Bertinotti quit politics and Giordano resigned and after that some bertinottiani, led by Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena (both former Proletarian Democracy members), had forged an alliance with former cossuttiani.

At the July 2008 congress, the PRC was highly divided around ideological and regional lines with Vendola, the bertinottiani's standard-bearer, accusing northern delegates of having absorbed leghismo and stating that it was the end of the party as he knew it. The internal left-wing (which wanted to return to PRC's original communist project) finally prevailed over the bulk of bertinottiani (who insisted on the creation of a broader left-wing party) and Ferrero was elected secretary by the central committee with 50.5%.[16]

In January 2009, the faction around Vendola and Giordano, silently supported by Bertinotti, left the PRC and launched the Movement for the Left (MpS), aimed at forming a broader left-wing party,[17] which would eventually be Left Ecology Freedom (SEL).

Left-wing alliances

In the 2009 European Parliament election the PRC ran with the PdCI and minor groups within the Anticapitalist and Communist List,[18] obtaining 3.4% of the vote and no MEPs. In April 2009 the list was transformed into the Federation of the Left,[19][20] which would be disbanded by the end of 2012[21] and officially dissolved in 2015.[22]

In the 2013 general election the PRC ran within Civil Revolution along with the PdCI, the Greens, Italy of Values and minor groups, obtaining 2.2% and no seats.[23]

In the 2014 European Parliament election the PRC was part of The Other Europe, which obtained 4.0% of the vote and three MEPs, including PRC's Eleonora Forenza.

In April 2017 Ferrero was replaced as secretary by Maurizio Acerbo, a former member of the Chamber of Deputies.[24][25][26]

In the 2018 general election the PRC was part of the Power to the People (PaP) electoral list,[27][28] which obtained 1.1% of the vote and no seats.[29] In 2020–2021 the party was briefly represented in the Senate by Paola Nugnes, a splinter from the Five Star Movement who later joined Italian Left (SI).[30][31][32]

In the 2019 European Parliament election the PRC was part of The Left electoral list, which obtained 1.8% and no seats.

In February 2022 the party formed a joint sub-group with PaP in the Chamber of Deputies' Mixed Group.[33] In June 2022 the same happened in the Senate,[34] and senator Nugnes returned to the party. In the run-up of the 2022 general election the PRC was a founding member of the People's Union (UP), a left-wing electoral list led by Luigi de Magistris.


A PRC rally in Rome, 2007
PRC headquarters in Castello, Venice

The majority of the party following the October 2004 congress was led by Fausto Bertinotti (59.2%) and viewed the PRC as the representative of the anti-globalization movement in Italy. Other factions strongly opposed Bertinotti's innovations. These included the hard-line traditionalist Being Communists (26.2%) which was composed of former followers of Armando Cossutta as well as the Trotskyists of Critical Left, Communist Project and HammerSickle (14.6% together). Communist Project, which opposed the party's participation in the Prodi II Cabinet, unfolded shortly after the 2006 general election. A group led by Francesco Ricci established the Communist Alternative Party, others, led by the Trotskyite Marco Ferrando, formed the Workers' Communist Party, while a tiny minority chose to stay in the party and launched Countercurrent.

In February 2007, senator Franco Turigliatto of Critical Left, led by Salvatore Cannavò, voted twice against the government's foreign policy, leading Romano Prodi to temporarily resign from Prime Minister. In April, Turigliatto was expelled from the party and Critical Left was suspended from it, leading to its final split and establishment as a party in December. Turigliatto's ejection was supported also by Claudio Grassi (leader of Being Communists) and this caused a break-up of the faction. A group led by Fosco Giannini launched an alternative faction named The Ernesto (from the eponymous communist publication), but it would suffer the 2008 split of Communist Left, which would splinter in 2011 into Communist Left and Communists Together/The Future City.

Following the severe defeat of the party in the 2008 general election, a group of bertinottiani composed mainly of former members of Proletarian Democracy and led by Paolo Ferrero and Giovanni Russo Spena allied with the other minority factions, notably including Being Communists, to force Franco Giordano's resignation from secretary. Subsequently, in the July congress Ferrero's and Grassi's Refoundation in Movement motion (40.1%) faced the bulk of bertinottiani, who organized themselves around a motion named "Manifesto for the Refoundation" (47.6%) with Nichi Vendola as standard-bearer. Giannini's The Ernesto and Countercurrent (7.7%), Claudio Bellotti's HammerSickle (3.2%) and a minor group of former bertinottiani called "Disarm, Renew, Refound" (1.5%) joined forces with the Ferrero-Grassi group. Vendola, defeated by Ferrero, announced the creation of a new minority faction, Refoundation for the Left (RpS).[16][35]

RpS finally left the party in 2009 to form the Movement for the Left (MpS), but some of its members, led by Augusto Rocchi, decided to stay in the PRC[36] and launched To the Left with Refoundation.[37] However, the alliance between Ferrero and the traditionalists did not last. The Ernesto joined the PdCI in 2011 while Being Communists divided in two groups, both eventually quitting the party. One group joined SEL in 2014[38] and was later merged into the Democratic and Progressive Movement (MDP) in 2016;[39] a second, larger group (including Grassi) participated in the foundation of SEL's successor, Italian Left (SI).[40]

In the 2017 congress, two motions were presented by Ferrero and Eleonora Forenza, respectively.[41] The coalition of factions led by Ferrero prevailed with the vote of 71.5% of party members.[42] Consequently, Maurizio Acerbo, supported by Ferrero,[43] was elected secretary by the central committee.[44]

Popular support

The electoral results of the PRC in general (Chamber of Deputies) elections and European Parliament elections since 1994 are shown in the chart below. The 2008 result refers to that of The Left – The Rainbow, a joint list comprising the Party of Italian Communists, Democratic Left and the Federation of the Greens. After that, the party formed joint lists with the Party of Italian Communists. The 2014 result refers to that of The Other Europe, a joint list led by Left Ecology Freedom.

Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on

The electoral results of the PRC in the ten most populated regions of Italy are shown in the table below.[45]

1994 general 1995 regional 1996 general 1999 European 2000 regional 2001 general 2004 European 2005 regional 2006 general 2008 general 2009 European 2010 regional 2013 general 2014 European
Piedmont 5.9 9.3 10.3 4.6 5.5 5.9 6.6 6.4 5.9 3.4 3.3 2.6 2.1 4.1
Lombardy 5.1 7.7 6.8 4.0 6.4 5.0 5.6 5.7 5.5 2.9 2.7 2.0 1.6 3.5
Veneto 4.4 5.0 5.3 2.8 3.0 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.9 2.2 1.8 1.6 1.3 2.8
Emilia-Romagna 6.6 7.6 8.3 5.0 5.8 5.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 3.0 3.1 2.8 1.9 4.1
Tuscany 10.1 11.1 12.5 7.4 6.7 6.9 9.1 8.2 8.2 4.5 5.1 5.3 2.7 5.1
Lazio 6.6 9.2 10.4 4.9 5.4 5.2 7.1 5.9 7.4 3.3 3.7 2.7 2.6 4.7
Campania 6.9 9.2 9.1 4.0 3.8 4.8 6.0 4.1 6.1 2.7 3.8 1.6 2.6 3.8
Apulia 7.0 8.1 7.5 3.3 3.6 4.7 6.0 5.1 5.7 3.0 3.3 3.3 2.4 4.3
Calabria 9.3 8.7 10.0 4.3 3.0 3.4 5.8 5.1 6.0 3.2 6.7 4.0 2.9 4.2
Sicily 4.3 (1996) 7.0 2.2 2.4 (2001) 3.2 3.6 (2006)[46] 3.2 2.6 2.2 4.9 (2008) 3.4 3.6

Election results

Italian Parliament

Chamber of Deputies
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1992 2,202,574 (5th) 5.6
35 / 630
1994 2,334,029 (6th) 6.0
39 / 630
Increase 4
1996 3,215,960 (5th) 8.5
35 / 630
Decrease 4
2001 1,868,659 (5th) 5.0
11 / 630
Decrease 24
2006 2,229,604 (5th) 5.8
41 / 630
Increase 30
2008 into SA
0 / 630
Decrease 41
2013 into RC
0 / 630
2018 into PaP
0 / 630
2022 into UP
0 / 400
Senate of the Republic
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1992 2,163,317 (5th) 6.5
20 / 315
1994 into AdP
18 / 315
Decrease 2
1996 934,974 (4th) 2.9
11 / 315
Decrease 7
2001 1,708,707 (3rd) 5.0
5 / 315
Decrease 6
2006 2,518,624 (5th) 7.4
27 / 315
Increase 22
2008 into SA
0 / 315
Decrease 27
2013 into RC
0 / 315
2018 into PaP
0 / 315
2022 into UP
0 / 200

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1994 1,991,977 (6th) 6.1
5 / 87
1999 1,330,341 (4th) 4.3
4 / 87
Decrease 1
2004 1,971,700 (7th) 6.0
5 / 78
Increase 1
2009 1,038,247 (6th)[a] 3.4
0 / 72
Decrease 5
2014 with AET
1 / 73
Increase 1
2019 with LS
0 / 73
Decrease 1
  1. ^ In a joint list with PdCI.

Regional Councils

Region Election year Votes % Seats +/−
Lombardy 2023 39,913 (11th)[a] 1.4
0 / 80
South Tyrol 2018 into United Left
0 / 35
Trentino 2018 into Other Trentino on the Left
0 / 35
Veneto 2015 into The Other Veneto
0 / 51
Decrease 1
Emilia-Romagna 2020 into The Other Emilia-Romagna
0 / 50
Decrease 1
Tuscany 2020 into Tuscany to the Left
0 / 41
Decrease 1
Marche 2015 into Other Marche
0 / 31
Decrease 1
Lazio 2023 10,289 (14th)[a] 0.7
0 / 51
Campania 2015 into Left at Work
0 / 51
Apulia 2020 into The Other Apulia
0 / 51
Basilicata 2019 into Possible Basilicata
0 / 21
Sicily 2017 into 100 Steps for Sicily
0 / 70
Sardinia 2019 4,308 (22nd)[b] 0.6
0 / 60
Decrease 1
  1. ^ a b Into People's Union.
  2. ^ In a joint list with the Italian Communist Party.




  1. ^ Formation of the "Committees for the Communist Refoundation"
  2. ^ Creation of the Party List
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Fabio Padovano; Roberto Ricciuti (2007). Springer New York (ed.). Italian Institutional Reforms: A Public Choice Perspective. p. 35. ISBN 9780387721415.
  5. ^ The Statesman's Yearbook 2008. The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the world. p. 704. Edited by Barry Turner. Published by Macmillan Publishers in 2007. Published in Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
  6. ^ Patrick Emmenegger (2014). The Power to Dismiss: Trade Unions and the Regulation of Job Security in Western Europe. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 217–218. ISBN 9781349740246.
  7. ^ B. Turner (2010). The Statesman's Yearbook 2008: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. OUP Oxford. p. 704. ISBN 9780191023798.
  8. ^ Kerstin Hamann; John Kelly (2017). Parties, Elections, and Policy Reforms in Western Europe. Taylor & Francis. p. 131. ISBN 9781136949876.
  9. ^ Anna Bosco; Susannah Verney (2016). Elections in Hard Times: Southern Europe 2010-11. Taylor & Francis. p. 143. ISBN 9781134908486.
  10. ^ Mohamed Branine (2011). Managing Across Cultures: Concepts, Policies and Practices. SAGE Publications. p. 371. ISBN 9781446210314.
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  12. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2008). "Italy". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  13. ^ "The Emerging New Euroleft". April 2006.
  14. ^ "A new left turn for Europe". 2 November 2005.
  15. ^ Megan Trudell (4 January 2007). "Rifondazione votes for war". International Socialism. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Ferrero: "Più col popolo, meno in tv"
    Vendola: "Io, sconfitto da comunista""
  17. ^ "PRC: serve una nuova sinistra
    Vendola consuma la scissione (il punto)"
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  18. ^ "Pdci e Prc, lista unitaria il 6 giugno
    "Anticapitalisti, con la sinistra europea""
  19. ^ "Per un nuovo inizio: costruiamo insieme la federazione della sinistra di alternativa". 18 July 2009.
  20. ^ "Al via la nuova Federazione della sinistra".
  21. ^ "Le primarie spaccano la FDS" Archived 2014-07-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "Atto di scioglimento di associazione politica" (PDF).
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  24. ^ "Maurizio Acerbo eletto nuovo segretario nazionale del Partito della Rifondazione Comunista".
  25. ^ "Rifondazione comunista, finisce l'era Ferrero: il nuovo segretario è Maurizio Acerbo". 2 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Acerbo eletto segretario nazionale di Rifondazione Comunista". 2 April 2017.
  27. ^ "L'associazionismo si fa partito: nasce la lista "Potere al popolo". (in Italian). 15 December 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Debutta Potere al popolo: "Non siamo la terza lista di sinistra, ma l'unica"". (in Italian). 16 December 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Eligendo: Camera". (in Italian). 4 March 2018. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Senato, respinto emendamento di Rifondazione Comunista contro le classi pollaio | il manifesto". 30 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Nugnes (Misto): "Il Governo ha il mio sostegno, Renzi è inqualificabile"". 13 January 2021.
  32. ^ "Senato, le ex-grilline Paola Nugnes ed Elena Fattori aderiscono a sinistra italiana - la Repubblica". 26 February 2021.
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  35. ^ "Manifesto per la rifondazione". Archived from the original on 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
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    nasce Rifondazione della sinistra"
  37. ^ "A Sinistra con Rifondazione". Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  38. ^ "Fuori dall'angolo per una sinistra all’altezza delle sfide del tempo presente".
  39. ^ "Caro Montanari, hai fatto una frettolosa stroncatura della nostra conferenza programmatica".
  40. ^ ""Sinistra italiana, un passo in avanti"". Archived from the original on 2017-12-26. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
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  42. ^ "Rifondazione comunista, il congresso: "Vogliamo fare la sinistra".
  43. ^ "Rifondazione comunista, Maurizio Acerbo segretario è un investimento sul futuro".
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  45. ^ "Archivio storico delle elezioni". [permanent dead link]
  46. ^ PRC formed a joint-list with the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI), Italy of Values (IdV), the Union of Democrats for Europe, the Federation of the Greens and the Party of Italian Communists to pass the 5% threshold. The list, named Uniti per la Sicilia, scored 5.1% and 4 regional deputies were elected, 3 SDI and 1 IdV.