Brothers of Italy (Italian: Fratelli d'Italia, FdI) is a national conservative political party in Italy led by Giorgia Meloni, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and a former minister in Silvio Berlusconi's fourth cabinet.
|Founded||17 December 2012|
|Split from||The People of Freedom|
|Headquarters||Via della Scrofa 39 00186 Rome|
|Newspaper||Gazzetta Tricolore (2012–2015)|
La Voce del Patriota (since 2018)
|Youth wing||National Youth|
|Political position||Right-wing to far-right|
|National affiliation||Centre-right coalition|
|European affiliation||European Conservatives and Reformists Party|
|European Parliament group||European Conservatives and Reformists|
|Chamber of Deputies|
37 / 630
21 / 315
8 / 76
|conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces|
2 / 21
73 / 897
The party, created from a split of The People of Freedom (PdL) in December 2012, is the main heir of the Italian neo-fascist conservative movement that had the Italian Social Movement (MSI, 1946–1995) and National Alliance (AN, 1995–2009) as its main political representatives. AN was merged into PdL in 2009, but its bulk is now with FdI. The party's main ideological trends are nationalism and conservatism, and its ideology also includes a Eurosceptic sentiment.
Background and foundationEdit
In November 2012, Ignazio La Russa and Maurizio Gasparri, leaders of the Protagonist Right, a faction within The People of Freedom (PdL), announced their support for Angelino Alfano in the party primary scheduled for December. The subsequent cancellation of the primary was not agreed with by La Russa and many others in the party. On 16 December 2012, Giorgia Meloni and Fabio Rampelli, Guido Crosetto, and Giuseppe Cossiga organised in Rome the "Primaries of Ideas", in which they openly criticised Silvio Berlusconi's leadership and any possible prospect of an electoral alliance with Prime Minister Mario Monti, proposed by some leading factions of the party, among them Liberamente, Network Italy, Reformism and Freedom, Liberal Populars, New Italy, and FareItalia.
On 17 December 2012, La Russa, one of the three PdL national coordinators, announced he was leaving the party in order to form the National Centre-Right, including not just right-wingers but also Christian democrats and liberals from Forza Italia (FI) such as Crosetto and Cossiga. The split from the PdL was agreed with Berlusconi in order to better represent the Italian right and offer an appealing choice to right-wing voters. Simultaneously, Crosetto and Meloni announced the formation of Brothers of Italy, whose name was taken from the first line of the national anthem. On 21 December the two groups, formed mainly by former members of National Alliance, such as La Russa, Meloni, Rampelli, Massimo Corsaro, Viviana Beccalossi, and Alfredo Mantica, joined forces as Brothers of Italy – National Centre-Right, usually shortened to Brothers of Italy (FdI). La Russa's followers soon formed their own groups in most regional councils, starting with the Regional Council of Lombardy, and the Senate. Carlo Fidanza and Marco Scurria, MEPs in the European People's Party group, also joined the party.
2013 general election and aftermathEdit
In the 2013 Italian general election, the party obtained 2.0% of the vote and nine seats in the Chamber of Deputies. On 5 March 2013 the party's executive board appointed La Russa president, Crosetto coordinator and Meloni leader in the Chamber. During the 2013 Italian presidential election's fourth ballot, the FdI decided to support Franco Marini, a Democrat Party (PD) member supported also by PdL and Lega Nord (LN). Following the unsuccessful outcome of the vote, FdI started voting for colonel Sergio De Caprio, known for having arrested Mafia boss Totò Riina. On 29 April 2013 Meloni announced in the Chamber of Deputies the party's vote of no confidence for Enrico Letta's government of Enrico Letta, supported by PD, PdL, and Civic Choice. The party would stay in opposition for the entire parliamentary term.
In September 2013, FdI launched "Workshop for Italy" (OpI), a political initiative aimed at broadening the party's base. The newly formed OpI's political committee, led by Cossiga, included, among others, former minister of Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata, former members of AN (notably including Gianni Alemanno, Mario Landolfi, Sergio Berlato, Adolfo Urso and Souad Sbai), former members of FI (including former Socialists like Giulio Tremonti and Antonio Guidi, and former Christian Democrats like Fabio Garagnani), former members of the Union of the Centre (Magdi Allam and Luciano Ciocchetti), and a former member of the LN (Oreste Rossi). Alemanno's Italy First and Urso's FareItalia were to join FdI by February 2014.
National Alliance FoundationEdit
In December 2013, the National Alliance Foundation, the association in charge of administering the assets of the defunct party, authorized FdI, supported by Alemanno and Urso, to use the logo of AN in the 2014 European Parliament election, despite opposition from an alternative front composed of The Right, Future and Freedom, Tricolour Flame, I the South, and New Alliance, as well as the former members of AN who had joined FI like senators Maurizio Gasparri and Altero Matteoli.
In February 2014, the party organised a primary in which members and supporters agreed to change the party's name to Brothers of Italy – National Alliance, chose the new symbol, including in small AN's one, and re-elected Meloni as president. During the party's first congress in March 2014, FdI ratified the primary's outcomes. In the 2014 European Parliament election in Italy, FdI obtained 3.7% of the vote and no seats, while doing well in Central and Southern Italy, especially in Lazio (5.6%), Umbria (5.4%), Abruzzo (4.7%), and Campania (4.5%), as well as in north-eastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia (4.4%).
During an assembly of the association in October 2015, the representatives of FdI, supported by former AN heavyweights who had remained in the PdL, won a decisive vote over a front led by Alemanno, who had left FdI earlier, joined forces with former allies of Gianfranco Fini and wanted to form a larger party, including FdI, which retained the use of AN's name and symbol, while Alemanno announced that he would create a Movement for the United Right.
Road to the 2018 general electionEdit
In November 2015, it was announced that the party would undergo a new process of enlargement and that a new political committee, named Our Land (TN), would be launched by January 2016. TN would comprise FdI, along with other right-wing politicians, notably including Cossiga (former deputy of FI and founding member of FdI), Alberto Giorgetti (a deputy of FI, who was long a member of AN) and Walter Rizzetto (deputy of Free Alternative, originally elected with the Five Star Movement). In March 2016, Rizzetto officially joined FdI and it was announced that the party's group in the Chamber would be renamed Brothers of Italy–Our Land. The name change never happened, but the party's enlargement continued with the switch of two deputies from FI.
In the 2016 Rome municipal election, Meloni ran for mayor with the support of Us with Salvini, but in competition with the candidate supported by FI: Meloni won 20.6% of the vote, almost twice than FI's candidate, but did not qualify for the run-off, while FdI obtained 12.3%. In the 2017 Sicilian regional election, Nello Musumeci, a conservative close to the party, was elected president of Sicily.
During the party's second congress in December 2017, Meloni was re-elected president, the party was renamed simply Brothers of Italy, and a new symbol was unveiled. In the event, FdI welcomed several newcomers, notably including Daniela Santanchè and Bruno Mancuso, respectively from FI and Popular Alternative (AP). Mancuso became the party's third senator, after Stefano Bertacco and Bartolomeo Amidei had switched from FI in the previous months. Additionally, Crosetto and Urso returned to an active role in the party. Finally, Alessandro Urzì took his Alto Adige in the Heart party into FdI.
2018 general election and aftermathEdit
In the 2018 Italian general election, FdI obtained 4.4% of the vote and more than three times the seats won in 2013. In November 2018, in the run-up to the 2019 European Parliament election in Italy, the party agreed to join the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament, opening the way for a pact with other minor conservative parties in Italy, notably including Raffaele Fitto's Direction Italy.
Marco Marsilio won 48.0% of the vote in the 2019 Abruzzo regional election and became FdI's first president of region in February 2019. For the 2019 European Parliament election in Italy, FdI recruited several high-profile candidates, including five outgoing MEPs (two of Direction Italy, plus three more recent splinters from FI: Fabrizio Bertot, Stefano Maullu, and Elisabetta Gardini), other former FI heavyweights (Alfredo Antoniozzi and Monica Stefania Baldi), and renowned sociologist Francesco Alberoni. As a result, FdI obtained 6.4% of the vote (10.3% in Calabria, 9.0% in Lazio, 8.9% in Apulia, and 8.4% in Basilicata) and five MEPs.
Ideology and factionsEdit
FdI has been described as right wing and far right on the political spectrum in Italy. It has been also described as nationalist and right-wing populist, mainly due to their socially conservative, nativist, and anti-immigration domestic stances. The party is Eurosceptic, and its leadership states it wants to "re-discuss" the eurozone and EU treaties. The FdI also wants to amend Italy's constitution to give Italian law priority over European law. It also seeks better relations with other countries such as Russia. The FdI calls for a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration and wants to blockade migrants from reaching Italian ports and boost the birth rate of Italian nationals to ease the need for migrant labor.
FdI has been described as neofascist for the party's history dating back to the Italian Social Movement, its far-right ties, for having appealed to neo-fascists on social media such as Facebook, and some party leaders being nostalgic of Italian Fascism.
- Italy First (Prima l'Italia), led by Gianni Alemanno;
- MakeItaly (FareItalia), led by Adolfo Urso;
- I Love Italy (Io Amo l'Italia), led by Magdi Allam;
- I the South (Io Sud), led by Adriana Poli Bortone.
Alemanno and Poli Bortone left FdI, along with their factions, in December 2014 and April 2015, respectively. In 2019, Alemanno returned in FdI.
A summary of the electoral results of FdI in national and European elections since 2013 is shown in the chart below.
- President: Giorgia Meloni, Ignazio La Russa, Guido Crosetto (2012–2013), Ignazio La Russa (2013–2014), Giorgia Meloni (2014–present)
- President of the National Assembly: Ignazio La Russa (2014–present)
- President of the National Board: Edmondo Cirielli (2018–present)
- Coordinator of the Political Committee of Workshop for Italy: Giuseppe Cossiga (2013–2014)
- Leader in the Chamber of Deputies: Giorgia Meloni (2013–2014), Fabio Rampelli (2014–present)
- Leader in the Senate: Maria Alessandra Gallone (2012–2013), Stefano Bertacco (2017–2018), Luca Ciriani (2018–present)
- Leader in the European Parliament: Raffaele Fitto (2019–present)
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