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Party of the South

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Title: Party of the South  
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Subject: Movement for Autonomies, Force of the South
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Party of the South

The Party of the South (Partito del Sud)[1][2] is a proposed political party in Italy.

The party was originally intended in 2009 to be a merger of some regionalist parties active in Southern Italy, notably including the Movement for Autonomies (MpA) of Raffaele Lombardo,[3] along with splinter groups from The People of Freedom (PdL) and possibly the Democratic Party (PD). Other than MpA, there were at least five notable regionalist parties active in the South at the time: Force of the South, The Populars of Italy Tomorrow, Populars for the South, We the South and I the South.


Early moves

Starting from early 2009 there were crescent rumors about which a group of leading members of the PdL in Sicily might have launched a new party in Southern Italy, in order to counterbalance the weight of Lega Nord,[4] key ally of the PdL in the North and junior partner in the current centre-right government. These included Gianfranco Micciché, Antonio Martino and Stefania Prestigiacomo, and there were rumors that they might have been supported by Marcello Dell'Utri.[1][2] Also Agazio Loiero[5] and Antonio Bassolino,[6] then DemocraticPresidents of Calabria and Campania respectively, expressed their interest in the project.

Silvio Berlusconi tried successfully (for now) to stop Micciché, who was undersecretary in his government, from founding the new party.[7][8] Micciché seemed however persuaded to push forward with his project and gathered all those who were interested in the idea in Sorrento in mid July.[9] In his mind the new party should have been an ally of the PdL as the Bavarian CSU is of the CDU in Germany, but it should be "something different" from the MpA.[10]

At that point it was not yet clear if the "Party of the South" would have been independent from the PdL or simply a branch of it.[11] Lombardo, for his part, remarked that there were actually two different projects, his and Micciché's, while encouraging Micciché to "cut the umbilical cord" from the PdL.[12]

The PdL–Sicily

In October 2009 in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Micciché re-launched the prospects of a Party of the South (that would come to existence only in the occasion of a general election and with the "benediction" of Berlusconi) in order to balance the weight of Lega Nord in the government and the coalition, while proclaiming the "superiority" of Southern Italians.[13] However Micciché was not clear on whether such a party would be a separate entity from the PdL or his real goal was to organize the PdL on a "federal" basis.[14]

At the beginning of November a substantial group of Sicilian regional deputies of the PdL formed a separate caucus within the Sicilian Regional Assembly under the name of "The People of Freedom–Sicily",[15] which was later changed into the simpler and more evocative "Sicily".[16]

In December 2009 Raffaele Lombardo, leader of MpA and President of Sicily, formed his third cabinet which included ministers from his MpA party, the PdL–Sicily and the newly formed regional section of Alliance for Italy (ApI), plus some independents, including one who was close to the opposition PD. No members of the "official" PdL or of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC) were included.[17]

In March 2010 Micciché stated that he was ready to leave the PdL in order to form the Party of the South, as there was no chance left of launching it from within the PdL,[18] or the "Sicilian People's Party" in its regional version.[19] Lombardo, for his part, reassured that the party would have come to life soon, despite the opposition of Angelino Alfano, who was the major rival of Micciché within the PdL.[20]

Great South

Main articles: Force of the South and Great South (party)

In September 2010 Lombardo broke with Micciché and formed his fourth cabinet supported by the so-called "third pole" coalition (MpA, Future and Freedom, a wing of the UDC and ApI) plus the PD.[21][22] At the same time Micciché announced his exit from the PdL and his intention to launch a "Sicilian people's party", which would have merged in the future with other southern "people's parties" to form the Party of the South.[23] In October 2010 Force of the South (FdS) was launched and 5 regional deputies of the PdL–Sicily out of 16 joined it, plus 7 national deputies and 3 senators.[24][25]

In March 2010 Micciché reached an agreement with Adriana Poli Bortone of I the South and Arturo Iannaccone of We the South in order to form a joint "party of the South" and at this time the move was supported by Berlusconi.[26][27] At the same time Lombardo announced that the MpA would soon merge into a larger "party of the South".[28][29][30] On 14 July 2011 Micciché's Force of the South, Iannaccone's We the South and Poli Bortone's I the South jointly launched Great South (GS).[31][32][33]

In the run-up of the 2012 Sicilian regional election Lombardo decided not stand for re-election and the regional section of the MpA was renamed as Party of the Sicilians (PdS).[34][35] In the upcoming election Micciché will run for President with the support of a "Sicilianist" coalition formed by the PdS–MpA, GS, the Sicilian People's Movement (MPS) and the local wing of Future and Freedom.[36] Micciché came fourth with 15.4% in a highly fragmented outcome.[37]


External links

  • Official website of Gianfranco Micciché
  • Movement for Autonomies
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