United Christian Democrats
Cristiani Democratici Uniti
LeaderRocco Buttiglione
Founded23 July 1995
Dissolved6 December 2002
Split fromItalian People's Party
Merged intoUnion of Christian and Centre Democrats
IdeologyChristian democracy
Social conservatism
Political positionCentre to centre-right[1]
European affiliationEuropean People's Party
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party
Colors  Light blue

The United Christian Democrats (Italian: Cristiani Democratici Uniti, CDU) was a minor Christian democratic[2] political party in Italy. The CDU was a member of the European People's Party from 1995 until 2002.[3]


The party was started in 1995 by splinters of the Italian People's Party (PPI) who wanted to join forces with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI).[4][5] The split was led by Rocco Buttiglione (outgoing secretary of the PPI), Roberto Formigoni and Gianfranco Rotondi. The CDU's symbol used the crusader shield (scudo crociato) of Christian Democracy.[6] In the 1995 regional elections the CDU formed joint lists with FI and Roberto Formigoni was elected President of Lombardy, while in 1996 it formed an alliance with the Christian Democratic Centre (CCD) for the 1996 general election, in which the CCD-CDU list scored 5.6%.

In June 1998 Buttiglione led the party into the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR), a new Christian-democratic outfit launched by Francesco Cossiga and Clemente Mastella, who had left CCD to form the Christian Democrats for the Republic (CDR). In October, when Buttiglione briefly decided to support the centre-left government of Massimo D'Alema, along with the UDR, Roberto Formigoni, Raffaele Fitto, Maurizio Lupi and several regional councillors in Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont left the party to form the Christian Democrats for Freedom, which was later merged into Forza Italia.

In February 1999 the UDR split between supporters of Cossiga, who formed the Union for the Republic (UpR), and the supporters of Mastella, who formed the Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEur). In the event, Buttiglione re-established the CDU as an independent party and started a rapprochement with Berlusconi.

In the 1999 European Parliament election the CDU obtained 2.2% and two MEPs, Buttiglione and Vitaliano Gemelli.

In the 2001 general election it formed an electoral alliance with CCD, known as the White Flower, gaining 3.2% of the vote.[7] Following the election, Buttiglione was appointed Minister of European Affairs in Berlusconi II Cabinet. In December 2002 the CDU, the CCD and European Democracy (2.3% in 2001) were merged into the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC),[8] of which Buttiglione was elected president, an office he would hold for twelve years.

Electoral results

Italian Parliament

Chamber of Deputies
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1996 2,189,563 (7th) 5.8[a]
11 / 630
2001 1,194,040 (8th) 3.2[a]
17 / 630
Increase 6
  1. ^ a b In a joint list with Christian Democratic Centre
Senate of the Republic
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1996 with Pole for Freedoms
10 / 315
2001 with House of Freedoms
8 / 315
Decrease 2

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
1999 669,919 (11th) 2.2
2 / 72



  1. ^ John Kenneth White; Philip Davies (1998). Political Parties and the Collapse of the Old Orders. SUNY Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7914-4067-4.
  2. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 396. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4.
  3. ^ Thomas Jansen; Steven Van Hecke (2011). At Europe's Service: The Origins and Evolution of the European People's Party. Springer. p. 51. ISBN 978-3-642-19413-9. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  4. ^ Martin J. Bull; James Newell (2005). Italian Politics: Adjustment Under Duress. Polity. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7456-1298-0.
  5. ^ Bernard A. Cook, ed. (2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 670. ISBN 978-0-8153-4057-7.
  6. ^ "Se Tassone vuole risvegliare il Cdu".
  7. ^ Tim Bale (2013). Immigration and Integration Policy in Europe: Why Politics - and the Centre-Right - Matter. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-317-96827-6.
  8. ^ Mark F. Gilbert; K. Robert Nilsson; Robert K. Nilsson (2010). The A to Z of Modern Italy. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 436. ISBN 978-0-8108-7210-3.