Italian Socialists
Socialisti Italiani
LeaderEnrico Boselli
Founded13 November 1994
Dissolved10 May 1998
Preceded byItalian Socialist Party
Merged intoItalian Democratic Socialists
Youth wingFederation of Young Socialists
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left
National affiliationPact of Democrats (1995–96)
Italian Renewal (1996)
The Olive Tree (1996–98)
International affiliationSocialist International[1]
Max. number of seats (Chamber of Deputies)
7 / 630
Max. number of seats (Senate)
5 / 315

The Italian Socialists (Italian: Socialisti Italiani, SI) were a minor social-democratic political party in Italy active from 1994 to 1998. The party was the legal successor of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI),[2] following its dissolution by the 47th Party Congress due to the severe financial crisis following the Tangentopoli scandal. A minoritarian group of the congress, who proposed an autonomist and centrist solution against the PSI dissolution, instead founded the Reformist Socialist Party.


Crisis of the Italian Socialist Party

1994 general election

In occasion of the 1994 general election and the introduction of the majoritarian electoral system of "Mattarellum", the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) of Ottaviano Del Turco joined the Alliance of Progressives coalition; however, the PSI obtained poor results compared to the main parties of the coalition: PSI received 2.2% of votes in the proportional quota for the Chamber of Deputies and the 0.3% for the Senate.[3][4] However, PSI parliamentarians were elected in single-members districts according to the agreements within the centre-left coalition and, thanks to the majoritarian system, obtained 14 seats in the Chamber and 9 in the Senate.

Due to their number, PSI deputies were forced to join the unitarian centre-left group "Progressives - Federative" (Progressisti - Federativo) while PSI senators managed to create their own autonomous group, thanks also to the adhesion of the Senator for life and former PSI National Secretary Francesco De Martino.

Exit of the Labourist faction from PSI

After the disappointing outcome of the elections, Del Turco resigned as secretary and the PSI Directive Committee appointed Valdo Spini as national coordinator on 21 June 1994, giving him the task to organise the Extraordinary Congress of the Party until September of the same year.[5]

However, Spini was convinced that PSI had to change its entire identity, which was associated with corruption after the role of the party in the Tangentopoli scandal,[6] and he convened a meeting on 26 July 1994 in order to promote the "Labourist Constituent". On 22 September, Spini resigned as coordinator and formed the Labour Federation on 5 November 1994 in Florence[7] and much of parliamentarians, who were elected among Socialist lists, joined this new political formation and left the PSI, deepening its financial crisis.

Last PSI Congress

In a climate of high tension, the 47th Congress of the Italian Socialist Party was held in Rome in November 1994 and saw the participation of Socialist delegates who decided to not follow Spini into his new Labour Federation party.

The majoritarian side of the Congress, which was supported by former PSI Secretary Ottaviano Del Turco and Enrico Boselli, proposed the liquidation of the Party due to its disastrous financial situation and the creation create a new political formation called "Socialisti Italiani".[8] The minoritarian side, supported by Fabrizio Cicchitto and Enrico Manca, was opposed to the dissolution of the PSI.[8]

At the end, the congress decided to liquidate the PSI, considering the debts accumulated during the rule of former Prime Minister Bettino Craxi and the decline of subscriptions and contributions which led to the foreclosing of various properties belonging to the party.

Foundation of Italian Socialists

Enrico Boselli in 2007.
Enrico Boselli in 2007.

Despite the sadness for the closure of the historical Italian Socialist Party after 102 years of activity, all delegates wanted to continue and preserve the history and the identity of PSI: after a few hours, the new "Italian Socialists" (SI) was proclaimed as the official successor party to the PSI and its traditions. Delegates of the new party elected Enrico Boselli as Secretary and Gino Giugni as President, with the indication to keep the party among the democratic left.

At the Chamber, 11 deputies, of whom 9 elected for the PSI, joined the Labour Federation; the five remaining PSI deputies (Giuseppe Albertini, Enrico Boselli, Ottaviano Del Turco, Gino Giugni and Alberto La Volpe) decided instead to join the Italian Socialists. They left the "Progressives" parliamentary group and formed a united group called "The Democrats" (I Democratici) on 21 February 1995, along with some members of the Segni Pact and Democratic Alliance.[9]

At the Senate, the Socialist group was preserved but most of its members joined the Labour Federations, and only senators Maria Rosaria Manieri and Cesare Marini adhered to SI.

First elections

At the 1995 regional elections, the Italian Socialists formed a list with the Democratic Alliance and Segni Pact called the Pact of Democrats. The coalition obtained 4.2% of the vote and 33 regional councillors, mostly Socialists. However, the alliance was dissolved shortly after the election due to the good results achieved only by SI.

For the 1996 general election, the Italian Socialists joined the electoral list of Italian Renewal (RI), a newly formed liberal-centrist party led by Lamberto Dini, within The Olive Tree centre-left coalition. SI participated then to the electoral victory of the centre-left: RI obtained the 4.3% of vote for the Chamber while The Olive Tree list obtained the 39.9% of votes for the Senate.[10][11]

The Italian Socialists had 7 deputies (Giuseppe Albertini, Enrico Boselli, Enzo Ceremigna, Giovanni Crema, Leone Delfino, Sergio Fumagalli and Roberto Villetti) and 5 senators (Livio Besso Cordero, Ottaviano Del Turco, Giovanni Iuliano, Maria Rosaria Manieri and Cesare Marini). Del Turco was nominated as the group's senate leader.[12]

However, the federation with RI did not last long, disbanding on 21 December 1996, with the exit from the parliamentarian group in the Chamber by Socialist deputies, who joined the component of Italian Socialists in the Mixed Group.[13][14]

Socialist senators in turn left the parliamentarian group of the Senate on 6 February 1997, determining the dissolution of RI. They instead joined the Mixed Group the Senate, forming the component of Italian Socialists and the one of "Italian Democratic Socialists" (SDI) on 9 November 1998.[15]

Merger with the SDI

On 10 May 1998 and under the proposal of Party Secretary Boselli, the Italian Socialists merged with the SDI, along with a segment of the Socialist Party (led by Ugo Intini), Labour Federation (led by Alberto Benzoni) and the remains of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (led by Gianfranco Schietroma).


See also


  1. ^ Harry Harmer (1999). The Longman Companion to the Labour Party, 1900-1998. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-317-88349-4.
  2. ^ Luciano Bardi; Piero Ignazi (1998). "The Italian Party System: The Effective Magnitude of an Earthquake". In Piero Ignazi; Colette Ysmal (eds.). The Organization of Political Parties in Southern Europe. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-275-95612-7.
  3. ^ "Archivio storico delle elezioni - Camera 27/03/1994". Dipartimento per gli Affari Interni e Territoriali (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  4. ^ "Archivio storico delle elezioni - Senato 27/03/1994". Dipartimento per gli Affari Interni e Territoriali (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  5. ^ "Spini nominato coordinatore". Corriere della sera (in Italian). 22 June 1992. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  6. ^ An example of the political satire of PSI was the headline of the number 8/9 of the satirical magazine Cuore of 30 March 1991, which reads Scatta l'ora legale, panico tra i socialisti ("The legal time begins, panic among socialists").
  7. ^ "PSI: Spini, io vado avanti con la Federazione Laburista". Adnkronos (in Italian). 22 September 1994. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  8. ^ a b "Il PSI all' ultimo congresso 'ma il socialismo vivrà". la Repubblica (in Italian). 1994-11-12.
  9. ^ "XII Legislatura della Repubblica italiana / I DEMOCRATICI". Camera dei Deputati - Portale Storico (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  10. ^ "Archivio storico delle elezioni - Camera 21/04/1996". Dipartimento per gli Affari Interni e Territoriali (in Italian). 21 April 1996. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  11. ^ "Archivio storico delle elezioni - Senato 21/04/1996". Dipartimento per gli Affari Interni e Territoriali (in Italian). 21 April 1996. Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  12. ^ "Lista Dini: Del turco e Masi capigruppo a Senato e Camera". Adnkronos (in Italian). 1996-05-10. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  13. ^ Caporale, Antonello (23 December 1996). "Il Big Bang di Rinnovamento". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  14. ^ Caprara, Maurizio (22 December 1996). "Dini si ritrova Rinnovamento a pezzi". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Sdi, un partito chiude la diaspora dei socialisti". la Repubblica (in Italian). 9 February 1998. Retrieved 2019-08-17.