Pier Luigi Bersani
Secretary of the Democratic Party
In office
7 November 2009 – 20 April 2013
DeputyEnrico Letta
Preceded byDario Franceschini
Succeeded byGuglielmo Epifani
Minister of Economic Development
In office
17 May 2006 – 8 May 2008
Prime MinisterRomano Prodi
Preceded byClaudio Scajola (Productive Activities)
Succeeded byClaudio Scajola
Minister of Transports and Navigation
In office
22 December 1999 – 11 June 2001
Prime MinisterMassimo D'Alema
Preceded byTiziano Treu
Succeeded byPietro Lunardi (Infrastructures and Transports)
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship
In office
18 May 1996 – 22 December 1999
Prime MinisterRomano Prodi
Preceded byAlberto Clò
Succeeded byEnrico Letta
President of Emilia-Romagna
In office
6 July 1993 – 17 May 1996
Preceded byEnrico Boselli
Succeeded byAntonio La Forgia
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
28 April 2006
ConstituencyEmilia-Romagna and Lombardy
In office
30 May 2001 – 19 July 2004
Personal details
Born (1951-09-29) 29 September 1951 (age 70)
Bettola, Piacenza, Italy
Political partyCommunist Party
(Before 1991)
Democratic Party of the Left
Democrats of the Left
Democratic Party
Article One
Spouse(s)Daniela Ferrari
Children2 daughters
Alma materUniversity of Bologna
WebsiteOfficial website

Pier Luigi Bersani (Italian pronunciation: [ˌpjɛr luˈiːdʒi berˈsaːni]; born 29 September 1951) is an Italian politician and was Secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), Italy's leading centre-left party, from 2009 to 2013. Bersani was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship from 1996 to 1999, Minister of Transport from 1999 to 2001, and Minister of Economic Development from 2006 to 2008.

Early life

Pier Luigi Bersani was born on 29 September 1951, in Bettola, a mountain municipality in Nure Valley, in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. His father was a mechanic and a gas station clerk. After earning his high-school degree in Piacenza, Bersani enrolled in the University of Bologna where he graduated in philosophy with a dissertation on Pope Gregory I. He married Daniela in 1980, and he has two daughters: Elisa and Margherita. After a short experience as a teacher he committed his life to politics and public administration.[1]

Political career

Early political career

Bersani joined the Italian Communist Party and subsequently the Democratic Party of the Left. As member of the National Secretariat of the Democrats of the Left, he was responsible for the economic sector. As a young man, he became Vice-President of the Mountain Community of Piacenza, then elected in the Regional Council of Emilia-Romagna region and Vice-President of Emilia-Romagna in 1990; he was President of Emilia-Romagna from 1993 to 1996.

Center-left cabinets (1996–2001)

After the general election of 1996 he was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship (1996–1999) and Minister of Transports (1999–2001) in the center-left cabinets of Prodi, D'Alema, Amato.

European Parliament (2004–2006)

In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament representing the North-West region for the Democrats of the Left, part of the Socialist Group, and sat on the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. He was a substitute for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, a member of the Delegation to the European Union-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan and EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, and for relations with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia, and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with Belarus. He left the European Parliament on his re-election to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, and he was appointed as Minister of Economic Development in the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi on 17 May 2006.

Prodi II Cabinet (2006–2008)

Bersani at the Festa de l'Unità, the official festival of the Democratic Party.
Bersani at the Festa de l'Unità, the official festival of the Democratic Party.

The Prodi II Cabinet assigned the Minister of Economic Development, Pier Luigi Bersani, the task of introducing reforms aimed at achieving increased market liberalization and competition. The minister responded with Decree Law 223 of 30 June 2006, later converted into Law 248/2006, popularly known as the "Bersani 1" decree on taxi drivers and pharmacies, although it addressed other sectors as well.

The government's policy of competition and liberalization would not to stop there. "Bersani 1" was followed by "Bersani 2" (decree 7 of 31 January 2007, converted into Law 40 of 2 April 2007), and then by a series of bills for the liberalization of the professions and television broadcasting, local public services, and energy, as well as the reduction and simplification of times and procedures for the start up of new businesses. Another bill proposed to rationalize the jurisdictions of the regulatory authorities, modifying and reinforcing their powers, particularly with regard to competition. Still another bill would introduce and regulate the judicial procedures for class action lawsuits.[2]

Secretary of the Democratic Party of Italy (2009–2013)

On 25 October 2009, Bersani defeated incumbents Dario Franceschini and Ignazio Marino in the Democratic Party leadership election, thus becoming Italy's main opposition leader, scoring 55.1% among party members.[3] Since 7 November 2009, as decided by the National Assembly, Pier Luigi Bersani officially took office as Secretary of the Democratic Party of Italy.[4] He defeated the mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi in the 2012 primary election.

2013 elections

Before the 2013 Italian general election, the Democratic Party was ahead but at "the beginning of the year, Bersani’s party was above 40%, and former center-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hovering around 25%. By the time [reported] polling stopped [a week before the vote], the right was up to 30% and the left down to 35%. Outgoing appointed-technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti's centrist party-coalition was at less than 15% of the vote and the protest Five-Star Movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo was getting more than 15%".[5]

In the general elections on 24–25 February 2013, as a consequence of the electoral system the DP-led centre-left coalition took a small absolute majority in the lower house. In most of the rest of Europe, this would have been enough to make Bersani Prime Minister. However, the coalition failed to gain a majority in the Senate. Italian governments must maintain the confidence of both chambers in order to stay in office. Bersani said he would try to form a government with the informal support of Five Star Movement. Anna Finocchiaro, PD's leader in the Senate, confirmed the likelihood PD would not form a new coalition with Berlusconi's Centre-right coalition.[6]

On 22 March President Giorgio Napolitano asked Bersani to form a new government.[7] On 27 March Bersani failed to strike a deal for forming a new Italian government with the grassroots Five-Star Movement (M5S) which held the balance of power after February's inconclusive elections.[citation needed] On 19 April Bersani announced he would be stepping down from his post as Democratic Party leader after Romano Prodi failed to secure a parliamentary majority in the presidential election.[8]

Other activities

In 2001, Bersani co-founded with Vincenzo Visco the NENS ("New Economy, New Society") think tank.[9] He is also chairman of the Nuova Romea Society that was established in 2002 with the objective of the development of Emilia-Romagna and Veneto territories.



  1. ^ (in Italian) Pier Luigi Bersani biografia Archived 21 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Partito Democratico webpage. Content confirmed via Google Translate 20 February 2013.
  2. ^ Bruno Costi (2007). "Survey of Economic and Financial Policy Measures" (PDF). UniCredit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ (in Italian) I dati definitivi dei congressi di circolo – Partito Democratico Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Pd, Bersani proclamato segretario "Adesso prepariamo l'alternativa"". La Repubblica (in Italian). 11 July 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  5. ^ Lynn, Matthew, "Watch out, Berlusconi could crash the markets", MarketWatch, 20 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  6. ^ Delamaide, Darrell, "Bersani’s weak win in Italy may be his strength", MarketWatch, 26 February 2013. Retrieved February 2013.
  7. ^ "Italy's Bersani tapped to form new government". Deutsche Welle. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  8. ^ Italy center-left leader Bersani quits after vote debacle Reuters. 19 April 2013. Accessed 20 April 2013
  9. ^ "NENS Official Website". Nens.it. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
Political offices Preceded byEnrico Boselli President of Emilia-Romagna 1994–1996 Succeeded byAntonio La Forgia Preceded byAlberto Clò Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftsmanship 1996–1999 Succeeded byEnrico Letta Preceded byTiziano Treu Minister of Transports and Navigation 1999–2001 Succeeded byPietro Lunardias Minister of Infrastructures and Transports Preceded byClaudio Scajolaas Minister of Productive Activities Minister of Economic Development 2006–2008 Succeeded byClaudio Scajola Party political offices Preceded byDario Franceschini Secretary of the Democratic Party 2009–2013 Succeeded byGuglielmo Epifani