Pier Luigi Bersani

"Bersani" redirects here. For the singer, see Samuele Bersani. For the literary theorist, see Leo Bersani. For the fencer, see Giuseppina Bersani.
The Honourable
Pier Luigi Bersani
Secretary of the Democratic Party
In office
25 October 2009  20 April 2013
Deputy Enrico Letta
Preceded by Dario Franceschini
Succeeded by Guglielmo Epifani
Minister of Economic Development
In office
17 May 2006  8 May 2008
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Preceded by Claudio Scajola (Productive Activities)
Succeeded by Claudio Scajola
Minister of Transports and Navigation
In office
22 December 1999  11 June 2001
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema
Preceded by Tiziano Treu
Succeeded by Pietro Lunardi (Infrastructures and Transports)
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship
In office
18 May 1996  22 December 1999
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Preceded by Alberto Clò
Succeeded by Enrico Letta
6th President of Emilia-Romagna
In office
6 July 1993  17 May 1996
Preceded by Enrico Boselli
Succeeded by Antonio La Forgia
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
30 May 2001
Constituency Emilia-Romagna
Personal details
Born (1951-09-29) 29 September 1951
Bettola, Italy
Political party Democratic Party
Other political
Communist Party
(Before 1991)
Democratic Party of the Left
Democrats of the Left
Spouse(s) Daniela Ferrari
Children Elisa
Alma mater University of Bologna
Religion Nonbeliever[1]
Website Official website

Pier Luigi Bersani (Italian pronunciation: [pjɛr luˈiːdʒi berˈsaːni]; born 29 September 1951) is an Italian politician and was Secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Italy's leading centre-left party, from 2009 to 2013. Bersani was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship from 1996 to 1999, Minister of Transport from 1999 to 2001, and Minister of Economic Development from 2006 to 2008.

Bersani was hospitalized on 5 January 2014, at the University of Parma Hospital, after suffering a brain hemorrhage; he was conscious upon his hospitalization (which for such patients is good, although not a conclusive indicator of a good outcome by any means), and the hospital said he was undergoing neurosurgery later in the day once the source of the bleeding had been found.[2]

Early life

Pier Luigi Bersani was born on 29 September 1951, in Bettola, a mountain municipality in Nure Valley, in the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. His father was a mechanic and a gas station clerk. After earning his high-school degree in Piacenza, Bersani enrolled in the University of Bologna where he graduated in philosophy with a dissertation on Pope Gregory I. He married Daniela in 1980, and he has two daughters: Elisa and Margherita. After a short experience as a teacher he committed his life to politics and public administration.[3]

Political career

Early political career

Bersani joined the Italian Communist Party and subsequently the Democratic Party of the Left. As member of the National Secretariat of the Democrats of the Left, he was responsible for the economic sector. As a young man, he became Vice-President of the Mountain Community of Piacenza, then elected in the Regional Council of Emilia-Romagna region and Vice-President of Emilia-Romagna in 1990; he was President of Emilia-Romagna from 1993 to 1996.

Center-left cabinets (1996–2001)

After the general election of 1996 he was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftmanship (1996–1999) and Minister of Transports (1999–2001) in the center-left cabinets of Prodi, D'Alema, Amato.

European Parliament (2004–2006)

In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament representing the North-West region for the Democrats of the Left, part of the Socialist Group, and sat on the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. He was a substitute for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, a member of the Delegation to the European Union-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan and EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, and for relations with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia, and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with Belarus. He left the European Parliament on his re-election to the Chamber of Deputies in 2006, and he was appointed as Minister of Economic Development in the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi on 17 May 2006.

Prodi II Cabinet (2006–2008)

Bersani at the Festa de l'Unità, the official festival of the Democratic Party.

The Prodi II Cabinet assigned the Minister of Economic Development, Pier Luigi Bersani, the task of introducing reforms aimed at achieving increased market liberalization and competition. The minister responded with Decree Law 223 of 30 June 2006, later converted into Law 248/2006, popularly known as the “Bersani 1” decree on taxi drivers and pharmacies, although it addressed other sectors as well.

The government’s policy of competition and liberalization would not to stop there. “Bersani 1” was followed by “Bersani 2” (decree 7 of 31 January 2007, converted into Law 40 of 2 April 2007), and then by a series of bills for the liberalization of the professions and television broadcasting, local public services, and energy, as well as the reduction and simplification of times and procedures for the start up of new businesses. Another bill proposed to rationalize the jurisdictions of the regulatory authorities, modifying and reinforcing their powers, particularly with regard to competition. Still another bill would introduce and regulate the judicial procedures for class action lawsuits.[4]

Secretary of the Democratic Party of Italy (2009–2013)

On 25 October 2009, Bersani defeated incumbents Dario Franceschini and Ignazio Marino in the Democratic Party leadership election, thus becoming Italy's main opposition leader, scoring 55.1% among party members.[5] Since 7 November 2009, as decided by the National Assembly, Pier Luigi Bersani officially took office as Secretary of the Democratic Party of Italy.[6] He defeated the mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi in the 2012 primary election.

2013 elections

Before the Italian general election, 2013, the Democratic Party was ahead but at "the beginning of the year, Bersani’s party was above 40%, and former center-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hovering around 25%. By the time [reported] polling stopped [a week before the vote], the right was up to 30% and the left down to 35%. Outgoing appointed-technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti’s centrist party-coalition was at less than 15% of the vote and the protest Five-Star Movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo was getting more than 15%".[7]

In the general elections on 24–25 February 2013, as a consequence of the electoral system the DP-led centre-left coalition took a small absolute majority in the lower house but failed to gain a majority in the Senate. Bersani said he would try to form a government with the informal support of Five Star Movement. Anna Finocchiaro, DP's leader in the Senate, confirmed the likelihood DP would not form a new coalition with Berlusconi's Centre-right coalition.[8]

On 22 March President Giorgio Napolitano asked Bersani to form a new government.[9] On 27 March Bersani failed to strike a deal for forming a new Italian government with the grassroots Five-Star Movement (M5S) which held the balance of power after February's inconclusive elections.[10] On April 19, Bersani announced he would be stepping down from his post as Democratic Party leader after Romano Prodi failed to secure a parliamentary majority in the presidential election.[11]

Other activities

In 2001, Bersani co-founded with Vincenzo Visco the NENS ("New Economy, New Society") think tank.[12] He is also chairman of the Nuova Romea Society that was established in 2002 with the objective of the development of Emilia-Romagna and Veneto territories.



  1. Sardo, Claudio (24 November 2012). "Interviste" [Interviews]. L'Unità (in Italian). Rome. Retrieved 25 October 2016. Tra i cinque candidati lei è il solo non cattolico. Eppure, quando ha proposto papa Giovanni per il pantheon dei democratici, le sono piovute addosso critiche laiche. Si è pentito? «No. Qualcuno non ha capito che, citando papa Giovanni, parlavo anche di sinistra riformista e sinistra radicale. Ho detto che quell’uomo ha realizzato cambiamenti rivoluzionari, mentre riusciva a rassicurare. Non sono credente, ma penso di aver dimostrato la mia sensibilità: considero la cultura cattolica parte della cultura democratica e progressista, avendo contribuito anche alla definizione di uno statuto di laicità della politica e dell’ordinamento» [You are the only one—out of five candidates—who is not Catholic. Yet, when you suggested Pope John XXIII for a Democratic pantheon, you got plenty of criticism from laical people. Do you regret? "No, I don't regret. Someone didn't understand that when I cited Pope John XXIII I was talking also about reformist and radical left. I said that man fulfilled revolutionary changes, while being reassuring. I'm not a believer, but I think I proved my awareness: I consider Catholic culture part of democratic and progressive culture since it has contributed to define a charter of secularity in politics and law."]
  2. "Italian politician Bersani has brain hemorrhage". 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  3. (Italian) Pier Luigi Bersani biografia, Partito Democratico webpage. Content confirmed via Google Translate 20 February 2013.
  4. Bruno Costi (2007). "Survey of Economic and Financial Policy Measures" (PDF). UniCredit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  5. (Italian) I dati definitivi dei congressi di circolo – Partito Democratico
  6. "Pd, Bersani proclamato segretario "Adesso prepariamo l'alternativa"". La Repubblica (in Italian). 11 July 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  7. Lynn, Matthew, "Watch out, Berlusconi could crash the markets", MarketWatch, 20 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  8. Delamaide, Darrell, "Bersani’s weak win in Italy may be his strength", MarketWatch, 26 February 2013. Retrieved February 2013.
  9. "Italy's Bersani tapped to form new government". Deutsche Welle. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  10. "Center-left head fails to win key support for forming Italian gov't". Deutsche Welle. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  11. Italy center-left leader Bersani quits after vote debacle Reuters. 19 April 2013. Accessed 20 April 2013
  12. "NENS Official Website". Nens.it. Retrieved 7 January 2013.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pier Luigi Bersani.
Political offices
Preceded by
Enrico Boselli
President of Emilia-Romagna
Succeeded by
Antonio La Forgia
Preceded by
Alberto Clò
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftsmanship
Succeeded by
Enrico Letta
Preceded by
Tiziano Treu
Minister of Transports and Navigation
Succeeded by
Pietro Lunardi
as Minister of Infrastructures and Transports
Preceded by
Claudio Scajola
as Italian Minister of Productive Activities
Minister of Economic Development
Succeeded by
Claudio Scajola
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dario Franceschini
Secretary of the Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Guglielmo Epifani
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