|Member of the European Parliament|
for Southern Italy
Assumed office |
26 May 2014
14 June 1999 – 13 June 2004
|Minister for the Regional Affairs and Autonomies|
8 May 2008 – 16 November 2011
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Preceded by||Linda Lanzillotta|
|Succeeded by||Piero Gnudi|
|Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies|
28 April 2006 – 25 June 2014
|President of Apulia|
16 April 2000 – 4 April 2005
|Preceded by||Salvatore Distaso|
|Succeeded by||Nichi Vendola|
28 July 1969|
Conservatives and Reformists|
Italian People's Party
United Christian Democrats
The People of Freedom
|Spouse(s)||Adriana Panzera (m. 2005)|
|Alma mater||University of Salento|
Raffaele Fitto was born in Maglie, Province of Lecce. His father, Salvatore Fitto, who was an exponent of the Christian Democracy (DC) and President of Apulia from 1985, died in 1988. Raffaele Fitto became regional councilor of Apulia in 1990 for DC; in 1995, he was re-elected councilor for Forza Italia (FI), and he became vice-president of Apulia in Salvatore Distaso's government. In 1999 he was elected at European Parliament for FI (Berlusconi's party member of EPP), but in 2000 Fitto resign because he was elected President of Apulia: on April 2005 he was again candidate for Apulia's presidency, but he was defeated by the left-wing candidate Nichi Vendola, with a difference of 14,000 votes, a small margin. In the same year he became Forza Italia's regional co-ordinator, and in 2006 he was elected parliamentary at the Chamber of Deputies (known also as Montecitorio) for Forza Italia; in 2008 he was re-elected in Montecitorio for the new political party (member of EPP) The People of Freedom (PDL), merger of Forza Italia (FI) and National Alliance (AN, non-member of EPP). In May 2008 Fitto was appointed Minister for Regional Affairs and Local Communities in Berlusconi IV Cabinet; he held the position until November 16, 2011. In February 2013 he was re-elected in Montecitorio for PDL.
In October 2013 during Berlusconi-Alfano conflict he choose Berlusconi because Fitto's faction is rival of Alfano's faction (the core of NCD, a political party member of EPP split from PDL in November 2013) in South Italy, in November 2013 Fitto became a member of the new Forza Italia (the PDL with a new name). In May 2014 Fitto was elected at European Parliament for FI (Berlusconi's party member of EPP) and he was the most voted candidate in a single constituencies (the constituency of Fitto was South Italy) for all political parties in Italy in this European election. In July 2014 Fitto, the main candidate of FI, became a member, with all politicians of FI elected at European Parliament, of European People's Party parliamentary group. Fitto, in summer-autumn 2014, asked a new party congress and a primary election for leading FI, but Berlusconi refused: during Berlusconi-Fitto conflict, Verdini, who supported Berlusconi with Fitto againist Alfano, supported Berlusconi because Verdini is the "creator" of the Nazareno Pact with Renzi Cabinet.
Following strong disagreement with Berlusconi about the leadership of FI (because Fitto's faction is against the Nazareno Pact with Renzi Cabinet), Fitto founded in February 2015 a counter-movement within Forza Italia called "the Rebuilders" (i Ricostruttori). In April 2015 in Puglia the break with the leadership of Forza Italia was consolidated following the nomination of Francesco Schittulli (a former President of Province of Bari for PDL-FI in 2009-2014) as presidential candidate in the 2015 regional elections, in opposition to the Berlusconi's candidate Adriana Poli Bortone: for these elections Fitto founded an apulian movement called "Beyond" (Oltre).
In the run-up of the 2015 UK general election Fitto, Capezzone and other 28 members of Italian Parliament (House and Senate) of their faction within FI had publicly endorsed Cameron in a letter to The Telegraph; on 7 May 2015 Cameron win that election and Fitto asked Berlusconi and Verdini to resign as Leader-President and National Coordinator of FI, but Berlusconi and Verdini refused.
On 17 May 2015 Fitto left FI and the European People's Party parliamentary group for joining the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group (ECR). On 3 June 2015 Fitto's faction within FI in Senate left Berlusconi's party and founded a new Senatorial group named Conservatives and Reformists (Conservatori e Riformisti, CR) led by Anna Cinzia Bonfrisco, the first woman leading a center-right parliamentary group in the history of Italy. CR was established as a full-fledged party on 16 July 2015 and Fitto became the first Leader-President of CR, the new Italian conservative party member of ECR parliamentary group in the European Parliament and also a member of Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR), the eurosceptic and conservative political party active in EU led by British Conservative Party.
La Fiorita investigation
In 2006 Fitto was investigated by the Bari prosecutor in connection with a donation to the party of €500,000 by a company called Tosinvest, ahead of the regional elections of 2005. According to the prosecution this amount was suspected of being a bribe to secure for the Apulia region the management of eleven nursing homes. A request to arrest Fitto, who in the meantime had become a Member of the Italian Parliament, was rejected by the Italian Chamber of Deputies. In December 2009 Fitto was found guilty of abuse of office, corruption and illegal financing of political parties; he was acquitted of some other charges. in February 2013 Fitto was sentenced to four years in prison and five years' disqualification from public office; the sentence was commuted to 1 year.
Bankruptcy of Cedis
In February 2009 during his presidency of the Apulia region, Fitto was accused of conspiring to short-sell the trading company "Cedis", at that time in administration the charges were filed in April 2009; however in July 2012, and finalised in October 2012, Fitto was acquitted of all charges.
- (Italian) Official website
- (Italian) Website of the Ministry for Regional Business
- Personal profile of Raffaele Fitto in the European Parliament's database of members