Sardinian Action Party

Sardinian Action Party
Partidu Sardu – Partito Sardo d'Azione
President Giovanni Columbu
Secretary Christian Solinas
Founder Emilio Lussu
Founded 17 April 1921
Headquarters Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Newspaper Il Solco
Ideology Sardinian nationalism
Autonomism (until 1981)
Separatism (since 1981)
Social liberalism
Social democracy
Political position Centre to Centre-left
European affiliation European Free Alliance
International affiliation none
European Parliament group no MEPs
Colours      Black      Red
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 630
0 / 315
European Parliament
0 / 73
Regional Council of Sardinia
3 / 60

The Sardinian Action Party (Italian: Partito Sardo d'Azione, Sardinian: Partidu Sardu, PSd'Az) is a social-liberal regionalist[1] and separatist[2] political party in Sardinia. While being traditionally part of the Sardinian centre-left, this nationalist party has recently sided with The People of Freedom and, later, Forza Italia, the largest centre-right party in Italy.

The PSd'Az is one of the oldest European stateless nationalist parties active promoting the ideal of an independent country[3][4] and joined the pro-separatist European Free Alliance in 1984.[5][6]

Giovanni Columbu is the party's current president, while Christian Solinas serves as secretary.


The party was founded in April 1921 and was re-organized after World War II by Emilio Lussu, secretary for Southern Italy of the Action Party during the war, and other veterans from the Sassari brigade,[5][7] a social-democratic group of the Italian resistance movement. Lussu left the party in 1948 to found the short-lived Sardinian Socialist Action Party (PSd'AzS), which joined the Italian Socialist Party in 1949, along with many other PSd'Az members.[5][8] Consequently, the PSd'Az started to cooperate with Christian Democracy and was quite a stable until the 1980s.[5]

The PSd'Az and the PSd'AzS won 10.5% and 6.6% respectively in the first regional election in 1949.[5]

After a decline in term of votes in the 1960s and 1970s, the party re-gained strength in the 1980s (13.8% in 1984 and 12.4% in 1989). Following these results, Sardist Mario Melis was President of Sardinia between 1984 and 1989 at the head of a five-party coalition composed also by the Italian Communist Party, the Italian Socialist Party, the Italian Democratic Socialist Party and the Italian Republican Party. This was the highest point in party history: the PSd'Az was represented in the Italian Parliament from 1983 to 1994, and Mario Melis was a MEP for the Rainbow Group from 1989 to 1994.[9]

The party was affiliated to The Olive Tree during the 1996 general election.[10] However, the party congress rejected a continuation of the alliance ahead the 2001 general election.[11]

In the 2004 Sardinian regional election the PSd'Az won 3.9% of the vote and 2 regional councillors.

In the 2006 general election leader Giacomo Sanna, due to an electoral pact named Pact for the Autonomies, was a candidate of Lega Nord for the Senate in Lombardy, but failed to get elected.

The party ran by itself in the 2008 general election, winning a mere 1.5% in the Region.[12]

In the 2009 regional election the PSd'Az joined the centre-right coalition, provoking the split of the party's left that formed the Red Moors.[5] Cappellacci won and the PSd'Az won 4.3% of the vote (having its strongholds in the traditionally left-wing Provinces of Nuoro and Carbonia-Iglesias, where it gained 7.5 and 7.1%, respectively)[13] and four regional councillors plus one (Giacomo Sanna) elected in Cappellacci's regional list.[14] The Red Moors won 2.5% and one councillor.

In the 2010 provincial elections the party was strongest in Nuoro (12.8%), Sassari (6.9%), Olbia-Tempio (6.7%) and Cagliari (6.4%).[15]

In 2013 the PSd'Az broke with Cappellacci and the centre-right,[16] but re-joined the coalition in time for the 2014 regional election. In the election, which saw Cappellacci lose to Francesco Pigliaru, the PSd'Az won 4.7% of the vote and two regional councillors.[17]

The electoral results of PSd'Az in Sardinia since 1946 are shown in the tables below. In 1961 (regional), 1963 (general) and 1965 (regional) the party formed joint lists with the Italian Republican Party. In the general elections of 1972, 1976, 1979 and 2006 it did not run lists for the Chamber of Deputies.

1946 general1948 general1949 regional1953 general1953 regional1957 regional1958 general1961 regional1963 general1965 regional1968 general1969 regional1972 general1974 regional1976 general
1979 general1979 regional1983 general1984 regional1987 general1989 regional1992 general1994 general1994 regional1996 general1999 regional2001 general2004 regional
2006 general2008 general2009 regional2013 general2014 regional

The party has failed to regain the electoral support it enjoyed upon its foundation (e.g. 36% of the popular vote in 1921 general election).[23]

The party has been mostly marginal in the Sardinan political scene since World War II and this marginalisation has increased with the establishment of a bipolar political system in the 1990s.[24] Eve Hepburn, a political scientist, has suggested the reasons for the party's failure in getting electoral success and influence can be identified in different factors that include its ideological incoherence, its consequent erratic choices of coalition partners, its inability to adapt to multi-level politics (e.g. its inability to devise coherent strategies at the Sardinian, Italian and European level).[23]



  1. John A. Agnew (2002). Place and Politics in Modern Italy. University of Chicago Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-226-01051-9.
  2. Sardinian Action Party Statute - About the party: Art.1: Il “Partidu Sardu – Partito Sardo d’Azione” è la libera associazione di coloro che si propongono, attraverso l’azione politica, di affermare la sovranità del popolo sardo sul proprio territorio, e di condurre la Nazione Sarda all’indipendenza.
  3. Elias (A.) et Tronconi (F.), From protest to power. Autonomist parties and the challenges of representation, Vienna, Braumüller, 2011
  4. "Sardinians - World Directory of Minorities".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Eve Hepburn (2010). "Explaining Failure: Sardinian Nationalism". In Eve Hepburn. New Challenges for Stateless Nationalist and Regionalist Parties. Routledge. pp. 116–121. ISBN 978-1-317-96596-1.
  7. Antonio Sorge (2015). Legacies of Violence: History, Society, and the State in Sardinia. University of Toronto Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4426-2174-9.
  9. "Mario MELIS".
  10. James Newell (2002). The Italian General Election of 2001: Berlusconi's Victory. Manchester University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7190-6100-4.
  11. Eve Hepburn (2010). Using Europe: Territorial Party Strategies in a Multi-level System. Manchester University Press. pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-1-84779-764-3.
  13. "Risultati per circoscrizione-Regione Autonoma della Sardegna".
  15. "Ministry of the Interior".
  16. "Sardegna Oggi: Notizie e informazione regionale".
  17. "Sardegna - Elezioni Regionali del 16 febbraio 2014".
  18. This result refers to the party's score in single-seat constituencies.
  19. This result refers to the provincial lists of the party, whose regional list gained 6.8% of the vote.
  20. This result refers to the party list; Franco Meloni, candidate for President, won 8.3% of the vote.
  21. This result refers to the score of the joint list with Sardinia Nation in single-seat constituencies.
  22. This result refers to the party list; Giacomo Sanna, candidate for President supported also by Sardinia Nation, won 3.7% of the vote.
  23. 1 2 Hepburn, E. (2009) 'Explaining Failure: the Highs and Lows of Sardinian Nationalism', Regional & Federal Studies, 19(4/5)
  24. Hepburn, Eve (1 December 2009). "Explaining Failure: the Highs and Lows of Sardinian Nationalism". 19 (4-5): 595–618. doi:10.1080/13597560903310378 via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.
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