Concept

Liberalism and radicalism in Italy

Summary
Liberalism and radicalism have played a role in the political history of Italy since the country's unification, started in 1861 and largely completed in 1871, and currently influence several leading political parties. During the first decades of Italy as a united country, the main parliamentary parties included liberals, but it was not until 1877 that the left-wing Radical Party was established as the first organized liberal party. The more centrist Liberal Union followed in 1913. Most liberal and radical parties were banned in 1926 under Benito Mussolini's Fascist government. After World War II and the establishment of the Italian Republic there have been frequent changes in the configuration of political parties and, for the most part, the representation of liberal and radical views has been split among a number of parties that may also espouse other views. These parties have often been part of governing coalitions. During the so-called "First Republic" three minor liberal parties were active: the Italian Liberal Party (centre-right), the Italian Republican Party (centre-left) and the modern-day Radical Party (left-wing). More recently, liberals have been split primarily among the centre-right The People of Freedom/Forza Italia and the centre-left Democratic Party. In the 19th century both early Italian political groupings, the Historical Right and the Historical Left, were composed of monarchist liberals and functioned mainly as loose parliamentary groups, while radicals organised themselves as the Radical Party, and republicans, who were influenced also by socialism, as the Italian Republican Party. These two parties had in fact been part of The Extreme, which included also the Italian Socialist Party and its predecessors. In 1913 the liberals around Giovanni Giolitti joined forces in the Liberal Union and in 1922 the Italian Liberal Party is formed. In that period, other liberal parties emerged: the Constitutional Democratic Party, the Democratic Liberal Party (merger of the Radicals with other liberal groups), and the Italian Social Democratic Party.
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