|Founded||18 September 2019|
|Split from||Democratic Party|
|Headquarters||Via della Colonna Antonina 52, Rome|
|Political position||Centre to centre-left|
|European affiliation||European Democratic Party|
|European Parliament group||Renew Europe|
|Chamber of Deputies|
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Italia Viva (lit. 'Italy Alive', IV) is a liberal political party in Italy founded in September 2019. The party is led by Matteo Renzi, a former Prime Minister of Italy and former secretary of the Democratic Party (PD).
Matteo Renzi started his political career in the Italian People's Party (PPI), a Christian-democratic outfit, and was elected president of the Province of Florence in 2004. Through The Daisy party he joined the Democratic Party in 2007 and was elected Mayor of Florence in 2009. A frequent critic of his party's leadership, especially under Pier Luigi Bersani, Renzi made his name as il Rottamatore, in English the Scrapper or the Demolisher (of old leaders and ideas), for his advocacy of complete change in the party, as well as a reformer and a modernizer. His followers were known as Renziani.
Speculations over a new party led by Renzi date back to 2012, when he was defeated by Bersani in the run-off of the centre-left primary election. Rumors stopped when Renzi was elected secretary of the PD in December 2013. He also became Prime Minister in February 2014. He led the party to huge electoral success in the 2014 European Parliament election (40.8%), but badly lost the 2016 Italian constitutional referendum (59.1% to 40.9%), which caused his resignation as Prime Minister.
After the PD's defeat in the 2018 general election, in which the PD only gained 18.7% of vote, forcing Renzi to resign as secretary, rumours of a split emerged. In March 2019 Nicola Zingaretti, a social democrat and a prominent member of the party's left-wing who had roots in the Italian Communist Party, won the leadership election by a landslide, defeating Maurizio Martina (Renzi's former deputy secretary) and Roberto Giachetti (supported by most Renziani). Zingaretti focused his campaign on a clear contrast with Renzi's policies and, according to pundits, his victory opened the way for a major shift in the character of the Democratic Party.
In August 2019, tensions grew within the coalition supporting Giuseppe Conte's first government, leading to a motion of no-confidence by the League. Despite having opposed it in the past, Renzi advocated the formation of a new government between the PD and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S). After days of tensions within the PD, on 28 August, Zingaretti announced his support for a new government with the M5S, led by Conte. The Conte II Cabinet was sworn in on 5 September, and Renzi was seen by many as the real kingmaker of the new parliamentary majority.
On 16 September, in an interview to la Repubblica, Renzi announced his intention to leave the PD and create new parliamentary groups. On the same day, interviewed by Bruno Vespa during the late-night TV talk-show Porta a Porta, he officially launched Italia Viva. In the interview he also confirmed his support for Conte's government. Renzi was initially followed by 24 deputies and 12 senators from the PD, notably including Maria Elena Boschi, Roberto Giachetti, Teresa Bellanova (Minister of Agriculture) and Elena Bonetti (Minister of Family and Equal Opportunities). Three more senators, Donatella Conzatti, Riccardo Nencini and Gelsomina Vono, joined respectively from Forza Italia (FI), the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and M5S, while one deputy, Gabriele Toccafondi, joined from Popular Civic List (CP).
The split was condemned by the PD's leadership: Zingaretti described it as a "mistake", while Dario Franceschini called it a "big problem". Beppe Grillo, founder of the M5S, described Renzi's actions as "an act of narcissism". Prime Minister Conte declared his perplexity too, saying that Renzi "should have informed [him] before the birth of the government". Additionally, Il Foglio revealed that internet domains italiaviva.eu and italiaviva.org were created on 9 August 2019, hinting that the split had been prepared in advance. The following day, la Repubblica revealed that the domains were bought by Alessandro Risso, a former member of Christian Democracy and the PPI from Piedmont. However, Risso explained that his moves had nothing to do with Renzi, whom he opposed.
Italia Viva's backbone was largely based on the Committees of Civil Action of Back to the Future, launched by Renzi during the 2018 Leopolda convention in Florence and seen by some people as the initial step of a new party. Ettore Rosato, the organizer of the committees, and Bellanova were appointed party's coordinators.
In October, during the Leopolda annual convention, the logo of IV was unveiled. It featured a stylized seagull and was chosen by supporters in an online vote.
In February, Nicola Danti, IV member and MEP, left the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group and joined the Renew Europe group. A few days before, Sandro Gozi, a former member of the PD's national board who later joined IV, had been sworn in as member of the European Parliament for France (elected with Renaissance list, formed largely by members of La République En Marche) and became the party's second MEP.
In December 2021, IV joined the European Democratic Party.
Italia Viva is considered a liberal and reformist party. Its "Charter of Values", presented in October 2019, referred to republican and anti-fascist values expressed in the Constitution of Italy, as well as in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The movement also emphasized the principle of gender equality, the relaunch of globalization and a strong opposition to all forms of protectionism and souverainism. It also supported a more incisive European political and economic integration, with the direct election of the President of the European Commission and the introduction of transnational lists.
Renzi described his movement as a "young, innovative and feminist house, where new ideas for Italy and Europe are launched."
Renzi has likened Italia Viva to Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche! (REM).
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