Clemente Mastella

The Honourable
Clemente Mastella
Mayor of Benevento
Assumed office
20 June 2016
Preceded by Fausto Pepe
Minister of Justice
In office
17 May 2006  16 January 2008
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Preceded by Roberto Castelli
Succeeded by Romano Prodi
Italian Minister of Labour and Social Previdence
In office
May 10, 1994  January 17, 1995
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Preceded by Gino Giugni
Succeeded by Tiziano Treu
Personal details
Born (1947-02-05) February 5, 1947
Ceppaloni, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Christian Democracy
Christian Democratic Centre
Christian Democrats for the Republic
Democratic Union for the Republic
Union of Democrats for Europe
Forza Italia
Populars for the South
Spouse(s) Sandra Lonardo (m. 1975)
Children Two children
Profession Journalist (ex)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Mario Clemente Mastella (born 5 February 1947) is an Italian politician. He is the leader of Union of Democrats for Europe, a minor centrist Italian party. He was Minister of Labour in the Berlusconi government from 10 May 1994 to 17 January 1995, and Minister of Justice in the Prodi government from 17 May 2006 to 17 January 2008. In addition Mastella is also mayor of his native town, Ceppaloni. He was elected to the European Parliament in June 2009 on the list of The People of Freedom of Berlusconi.

Political career

Mastella was born in Ceppaloni, province of Benevento. A former long-time member of the Christian Democracy party and Member of Parliament since 1976, after the break-up of his party in 1994 Mastella founded a new party, called Centro Cristiano Democratico, together with Pierferdinando Casini. After the victory of Silvio Berlusconi in the 1994 elections, he was successively appointed as Minister of Labour.

In 1998, after the fall of Romano Prodi's first government, Mastella decided to follow Francesco Cossiga, lifetime senator and former Italian Republic President. He left his party to found the Cristiano Democratici per la Repubblica, then Unione Democratici per la Repubblica. This new political party, which supported the new centre-left government led by Massimo D'Alema, lasted only one year however; in 1999, Mastella took over the leadership of UDEUR (then Popular-UDEUR).

In 2005, Mastella decided to take part in the primary election for the leadership of The Union. He obtained 4.6% of the votes.

Clemente Mastella and the President of the Sicilian Region Salvatore Cuffaro were involved in a scandal when it was found that they had been the best men of Francesco Campanella, a former member of the Mafia that helped the boss Bernardo Provenzano during his absconding. In July 2000, Mastella was a witness at Campanella's wedding.[1]

In 2016 he became mayor of the city of Benevento.

Minister of Justice

In 2006, Mastella became minister of Justice in the Prodi government. Mastella promoted a general amnesty in 2006. He also proposed the penalising Holocaust denial, but the proposal was dropped after opposition by historians and concerns about such a law being unconstitutional.

As Minister of Justice, Mastella received an "Advice of Judicial Proceedings" in February 2007 from the Naples prosecutors’ office. He is being investigated for fraudulent bankruptcy when the Naples football club S.S.C. Napoli collapsed in 2004. Mastella was vice president of the Board of Directors.

In September 2007 he has asked the Higher Council of the Magistracy to arrange the transfer of the prosecuting attorney of Catanzaro Luigi De Magistris, who was inquiring on a committee of illegal transactions composed by politicians (including Mastella himself) and magistrates.

In May 2007, Mastella opened a blog of his own ( in retaliation to criticism by the Italian comedian and political activist Beppe Grillo.

Mastella's wife, Sandra Lonardo, is also a UDEUR politician, and she acts as president of the Regional Council of Campania. She has been under house arrest for suspected bribery since January 16, 2008.[2] Meanwhile, Clemente Mastella resigned from his position as Justice Minister;[3] in announcing his resignation, he said that "between the love of my family and power I choose the former" and expressed his desire to be "more free from a political and personal point of view". Prodi rejected the resignation,[4] but on January 17 Mastella said again that he was resigning. Prodi was to temporarily take over his portfolio.[5]

2008 Italian political crisis

Despite having earlier said that he would support Prodi's government without participating in it, on 21 January 2008, Mastella said that his party was ending its support, thereby depriving the government of its narrow majority in the Senate. Mastella said that UDEUR wanted an early election and that it would vote against the government if there was a vote of confidence.[6][7]

Mastella's decision occurred a few days after a decision by the Constitutional Court which confirmed that there would be a referendum to modify the electoral system.[8] As stated many times by Mastella, if the referendum was confirmed this would lead directly to the fall of the government[9][10] and in fact this is what happened.

The fall of the government disrupted a pending election-law referendum that, if it had been passed, would have made it harder for small parties like Mastella's to gain seats in parliament.[11]

On February 6, 2008, Mastella announced that he would be part of Silvio Berlusconi's Casa delle Libertà.[12] but on March 1, Berlusconi refused to form a coalition with Mastella, citing too many differences in their political programmes.[13]

After failing to secure a coalition with any other political party, Mastella decided to quit the electoral competition on March 7, as the Italian electoral system subjects political parties not a part of a coalition to thresholds of 4% and 8% for the Chamber and the Senate, respectively.[14]

European Parliament

He was elected to the European Parliament in June 2009 on the list of The People of Freedom of Berlusconi. In July 2009 he was quoted in the Italian because of statements made about the per diem collected at the European Parliament: "An allowance of 290 euro!" - he said in a lift to his assistants - "'It's misery. ... They do not know what you get in the Italian Parliament".[15] In the first months of the current legislature (2009-2014) of the European Parliament he was one of the MEPs less present during voting in plenary meetings.[16]


  1. Italian justice minister linked to mafia inquiry, The Guardian, May 18, 2006
  2. (Italian) Domiciliari alla moglie di Mastella, La Repubblica, January 16, 2008
  3. (Italian) Mastella: 'Caccia all'uomo, mi dimetto', La Repubblica, January 16, 2008
  4. "Italian justice minister resigns", BBC News, January 16, 2008.
  5. "Italian PM to temporarily take over justice minister's portfolio", Xinhua, January 17, 2008.
  6. "Mastella to Drop Support for Prodi, Favors Elections (Update1)", Bloomberg, January 21, 2008.
  7. "Italy PM in cabinet crisis talks", BBC News, January 21, 2008.
  8. "Italian court okays referendum on election law", Reuters, January 1, 2008
  9. "Legge elettorale, Mastella minaccia la crisi", Corriere della Sera, April 10, 2007
  10. "Mastella: Se c'è referendum si rischia la crisi di governo" La Stampa, April 10, 2007
  11. "Prodi Likely to Quit, Prompt Vote or Election Reform" Bloomberg, January 24, 2008.
  12. (Italian) Castelli: «La Lega non vuole Mastella», Corriere della Sera, February 6, 2008
  13. (Italian) Berlusconi chiude con Mastella, La Repubblica, March 1st, 2008
  14. (Italian) La resa di Mastella «Non mi presento», La Repubblica, March 7th, 2008
  15. (Italian) "Una miseria questi 290 euro", Mastella protesta per la diaria, La Repubblica, July 15, 2009
  16. (Italian) Settima legislatura - Presenze al voto in plenaria, Delegazione Italiana del gruppo PPE al Parlamento Europeo
Political offices
Preceded by
Gino Giugni
Italian Minister of Labour and Social Previdence
1994 - 1995
Succeeded by
Tiziano Treu
Preceded by
Roberto Castelli
Italian Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Romano Prodi ad interim
Italian Chamber of Deputies
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

1976 – 2006
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senate
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Senate

2006 – 2008
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Party political offices
Preceded by
New Party
Secretary of UDEUR
1999 – present

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