Italian Socialist Party (2007)

For the historical party with the identical name, see Italian Socialist Party.
Italian Socialist Party
Partito Socialista Italiano
Secretary Riccardo Nencini
President Carlo Vizzini
Coordinator Gianfranco Schietroma
Spokesperson Maria Pisani
Founded 5 October 2007
Merger of Italian Democratic Socialists, minor parties
Headquarters Via Santa Caterina da Siena 57, 00186 Rome[1]
Newspaper Avanti!, MondOperaio
Membership  (2012) 23,600[2]
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation Democratic Party
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Socialist International
European Parliament group Party of European Socialists (2007–2009)
Chamber of Deputies
3 / 630
3 / 315
European Parliament
0 / 73

The Italian Socialist Party (Italian: Partito Socialista Italiano, PSI) is a social-democratic[3] political party in Italy.

The party was founded in 2007–2008 by the merger of six minor social-democratic parties/groups: the Italian Democratic Socialists, Democracy and Socialism, The Italian Socialists, the Socialist Party–De Michelis, the Association for the Rose in the Fist and Socialism is Freedom. Until October 2009, the party was known as the Socialist Party (Partito Socialista, PS).

Since July 2008 Riccardo Nencini, of Tuscany, has been party leader; elected senator with the Democratic Party in 2013, he has been deputy minister of Infrastructures and Transports in Matteo Renzi's cabinet since 2014.



A merger of all the parties coming from the tradition of the late Italian Socialist Party (PSI), disbanded in 1994 as a result of Tangentopoli scandals, was initially proposed by Enrico Boselli during a congress of the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) in April 2007. In that occasion the party decided not to join the Democratic Party (PD) and called for a "Socialist Constituent Assembly" (Costituente Socialista) aimed at uniting all Socialists instead.

Some minor parties and associations, including The Italian Socialists of Bobo Craxi, Socialism is Freedom of Rino Formica and the Association for the Rose in the Fist of Lanfranco Turci immediately welcomed the proposal by Enrico Boselli. In June 2007 the Socialist Party – New PSI (NPSI) split in two groups: the first, led by Stefano Caldoro, opted to stay within the House of Freedoms; the second, led by Gianni De Michelis, agreed to join the Constituent Assembly. The former retained the NPSI identity, while the latter formed the Socialist Party–De Michelis. At its foundation in October 2007 the PS was joined also by Democracy and Socialism, a group of former Democrats of the Left coming from Democratic Left.

At the 2008 general election the PS stood alone and Boselli was its candidate for Prime Minister.[4] In the election, the Socialist Party gained less than 1% of the vote and failed to win any seats in the Italian Parliament.

Out of Parliament

At the first party congress, which took place on 4–6 July 2008, Riccardo Nencini was elected secretary, replacing Boselli, while Pia Elda Locatelli was elected president.[5] In September Nencini, proposed a new "reformist axis" comprising the Democratic Party (PD), the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC) and the Socialists, while explaining that the Democrats needed to choose between the reformism of the PS and the populism of Italy of Values (IdV).[6]

In October 2008 Gavino Angius led his group into the PD, proposing that the entire PS should follow him.[7][8][9][10] In reply Nencini underlined that no former members of the late PSI were leaving the party. In fact, Spini, the only former Socialist in Angius' group, chose to stay in the PS.[11] However, Gianni De Michelis left the party soon after.[12]

For the 2009 European Parliament election the PS formed a joint list named Left and Freedom (SL) with the Movement for the Left, the Federation of the Greens, the Democratic Left and Unite the Left.[13] SL received a mere 3.1% of the national vote and failed to return any MEPs. Despite this, the national council of the PS chose to continue the experience of SL in order to build a "secular, libertarian and left-wing" force which would join the PES.[14] This led to the exit of Bobo Craxi, who launched the United Socialists in October.[15] However, one month later, the PS suddenly left SL, having refused to merge into it and lose its identity.[16] The party otherwise chose to support joint candidates with the PD and run its own lists in the forthcoming 2010 regional elections.[17] Subsequently, Craxi renewed his party membership.[18]

At the 2010 regional elections the PSI elected a total of 15 regional councillors.[19] The party obtained its best results in Apulia (9.7% with SEL and 4 councillors out of the 11 elected by SEL), Basilicata (4.6% and 1 councillor), Umbria (4.2% and 2 councillors), Campania (3.5% with SEL and 2 councillors out of 2) and Calabria (3.7%, just 0.3% short of the electoral threshold). At the fourth party congress in July Nencini was re-elected secretary, but the party was divided between three political lines: the majority around Nencini supported a "reformist" alliance with the PD, UDC and SEL (excluding IdV and the Communist Refoundation Party, PRC), to the right the "autonomist" wing led by Craxi wanted the party to stand alone and to the left the "frontist" wing favoured stronger co-operation with SEL.[12]

In December 2010 Enrico Boselli, long-time SDI leader and PS/PSI founder, who had left active politics after his 2008 defeat, joined Alliance for Italy.[20]

Return to Parliament

In November 2011 Carlo Vizzini, a senator of The People of Freedom (PdL) and former secretary of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI), joined the party, giving it parliamentary representation again after more than three years. While leaving the PdL, Vizzini stated: "It seems to me that the PdL is set to become the Italian section of the European People's Party. I come from another tradition: I have been secretary of the PSDI and I was one of the founders of the Party of European Socialists. When I joined Forza Italia there were Liberals, Socialists, Radicals. Now everything has changed."[21]

The PSI did well in the 2012 local elections. In Carrara the Socialist mayor Angelo Zubbani was re-elected by a landslide and the party obtained 14.4% of the vote.[22] The PSI also won 15.1% in Todi, 8.9% in Narni, 7.2% in Civitanova Marche, 9.5% in Frosinone, 11.8% in Paola, and 9.4% in Trapani.[23]

In the 2013 general election the PSI was part of the Italy. Common Good coalition headed by PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani,[24] whom the PSI supported in the 2012 centre-left primary election. In the election the party elected 4 deputies and 2 senators in the lists of the PD. Nencini was elected to the Senate and the party supported Enrico Letta's government. In February 2014, when Letta was replaced by Matteo Renzi, Nencini was appointed deputy minister of Infrastructures and Transports in Renzi Cabinet.

In November 2013, during a party congress, Nencini was re-elected secretary, by beating Franco Bartolomei of the "frontist" left and Angelo Sollazzo of the "autonomist" wing.[25] In 2015 Bartolomei, Alberto Benzoni and Felice Besostri set up the leftist "Socialist Risorgimento" and, consequently, were excluded from the party.[26][27][28][29]

Splits over Renzi

In the summer of 2015 Marco Di Lello, party leader in the Chamber, proposed the merger of the PSI into the PD and announced that, were the party not to follow his proposal (as it was clear from the comments made by Nencini and all the party bigwigs), he would join the PD.[30][31][32] In November Di Lello, along with Lello Di Gioia, another deputy, left the PSI and formed, along with a deputy of the PD, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) as a faction within the PD.[33][34] Contextually, Carmelo Lo Monte, a deputy elected in 2013 with the Democratic Centre, joined the PSI's sub-group and the party as a full member.[35]

In April 2016, during the fourth party congress, Nencini was unanimously re-elected secretary.[36][37][38] "Socialist Area", a faction launched in November 2015 by Bobo Craxi, Roberto Biscardini, Gerardo Labellarte and Angelo Sollazzo,[39] who criticised the party's "acritical" support to Renzi Cabinet and Nencini's double role as party leader and deputy minister, while proposing a more left-wing positionment for the party as opposed to PD–PSI's "centrism",[40][41] chose not to participate in the congress,[42] a decision that marked the split from the party.[43][44][45] Otherwise, the party was endorsed by Tommaso Nannicini, powerful undersecretary and Renzi's economic advisor.[46]

The PSI did well in the 2016 local elections. In Città di Castello the Socialist mayor Luciano Bacchetta was re-elected in the first round and the party obtained 21.5% of the vote.[47] The PSI also won 11.7% in Finale Emilia, 10.2% in Sulmona, 14.7% in Frattaminore, 8.2% in Salerno, 12.1% in Melfi and 10.1% in Cassano all'Ionio.[48]

Similarly to its precursors (SI, SDI and NPSI), the PSI has its strongholds in Southern and Central Italy.

In the 2008 general election, the first and latest general election the PSI fought with its own list, the party obtained 1.8% in Umbria, 2.0% in Calabria (2.8% for the Senate), 2.8% in Basilicata, and 1.6% in Apulia. In the 2010 regional elections the party confirmed its strength in its strongholds: 4.2% in Umbria, 3.7% in Calabria, 4.6% in Basilicata, 9.7% in Apulia (along with SEL), and 3.5% in Campania. In the 2013 regional election the party increased its percentage of the vote to 7.5% in Basilicata.


Electoral results

Italian Parliament

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2008 355,575 (#10) 0.98
0 / 630
Enrico Boselli
2013 with Democratic Party
4 / 630
Increase 4
Riccardo Nencini
Senate of the Republic
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2008 285,802 (#9) 0.86
0 / 315
Enrico Boselli
2013 57,688 (#13) 0.18
3 / 315
Increase 3
Riccardo Nencini

European Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
with Left and Freedom
0 / 630
Riccardo Nencini
with Democratic Party
0 / 630
Riccardo Nencini

Regional Councils

Region Latest election # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
Abruzzo 2014 11,666 (#13) 1.7
0 / 31
Basilicata 2013 17,680 (#5) 7.5
1 / 21
Campania 2015 49,643 (#12) 2.2
1 / 51
Emilia-Romagna 2014 17,984 (#9) 1.5
0 / 50
Lazio 2013 55,588 (#10) 2.0
1 / 50
Lombardy 2013 16,624 (#17) 0.3
0 / 80
Molise 2013 3,149 (#15) 1.9
0 / 21
Sardinia 2014 9,518 (#20) 1.4
1 / 60
Umbria 2015 12,200 (#7) 3.5
1 / 20


  2. Nencini apre alla casa riformista E gela Cicchitto: «Socialisti voi?»
  3. Parties and Elections in Europe
  4. Agi News On - Elections: Socialist Party Lists For Upper And Lower Houses
  15. I socialisti di Bobo Craxi: «Autonomi da tutti»
  16. I socialisti oscurano il sito di Sinistra e Libertà La coalizione è in crisi e c'è rischio di scissione - Politica -
  20. Boselli, dai socialisti ai rutelliani di Api: sarà vicepresidente
  21. Pdl, chiusa la campagna per il tesseramento La Russa: arriveremo a quota 800 mila
  24. Liste, i simboli presentati sono 215: è record. Domani le esclusioni - Il Messaggero
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