Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy

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Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy
Democrazia è Libertà – La Margherita
LeaderFrancesco Rutelli
Founded12 October 2000 (alliance)[1]
24 March 2002 (party)
Dissolved14 October 2007
Merger ofItalian People's Party
The Democrats
Italian Renewal
Merged intoDemocratic Party
HeadquartersVia S. Andrea delle Fratte 16, Rome
Youth wingYoung People of the Daisy
Membership (2007)430,000[2]
Political positionCentre[3] to centre-left[4][5][6]
National affiliationThe Olive Tree (2002–07)
The Union (2004–07)
European affiliationEuropean Democratic Party (2004–07)
International affiliationAlliance of Democrats
European Parliament groupAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colors  Green   Azure

Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (Italian: Democrazia è Libertà – La Margherita, DL), commonly known simply as The Daisy (La Margherita), was a centrist[7][8][9] political party in Italy. The party was formed from the merger of three parties within the centre-left coalition: the Italian People's Party, The Democrats and Italian Renewal.[9] The party president and leader was Francesco Rutelli, former mayor of Rome and prime ministerial candidate during the 2001 general election for The Olive Tree coalition, within which The Daisy electoral list won 14.5% of the national vote.

The Daisy became a single party in February 2002. It was set up by former left-leaning Christian Democrats,[10][11][12] centrists,[13] social-liberals[12] (former Liberals and former Republicans), as well as other left-wing politicians from the former Italian Socialist Party and Federation of the Greens.

On 14 October 2007, DL merged with the Democrats of the Left to form the Democratic Party (PD).


The idea of uniting the centrist components of The Olive Tree, which were divided in many parties, was discussed at least from 1996. In the 1996 general election, there were actually two centrist lists within the Italian centre-left coalition: the Populars for Prodi, an electoral list including the Italian People's Party (PPI), Democratic Union (UD), the Italian Republican Party (PRI) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP), and that of Italian Renewal (RI), including the Segni Pact (PS) and Italian Socialists (SI), which later merged into the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) in 1998. In 1998 splinters from the centre-right coalition formed the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR), later transformed into Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEUR), to support the D'Alema I Cabinet. In 1999 splinters of PPI, UD and other groups formed The Democrats (Dem).

Between 1998 and 2000, there were several precursors of such idea at the regional and local level in Northeast Italy, notably the Reformist Popular Centre in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Daisy Civic List in Trentino, the Autonomist Federation in Aosta Valley and Together for Veneto in Veneto. Initially some of these experiments were intended to include both Christian-inspired parties and secular ones, such as SDI and PRI.[14] However, on 12 October 2000, only PPI, Dem, UDEUR and RI agreed to join forces with a joint list called "The Daisy" for the 2001 general election. The Daisy, led by Francesco Rutelli (who was also candidate for Prime Minister for the whole centre-left), won 14.5% of the vote, only two points less than the Democrats of the Left (DS).

Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy was established as a single party during the founding congress of Parma in March 2002. On that occasion the Italian People's Party, The Democrats and Italian Renewal merged to form the new party, while the UDEUR decided to remain separate.

In the 2006 general election, The Daisy was member of the victorious alliance The Union, and won 39 out of 315 senators. The Olive Tree list, of which DL was a member since the 2004 European Parliament election, won 220 seats out of 630 in the Chamber of Deputies. On 14 October 2007, DL, DS and numerous minor parties merged to form the Democratic Party (PD), a unitary centre-left party in anticipation of a move to a two-party system.[7][3]


Democracy Is Freedom was a pro-European centrist party, with a strong support among Catholics, especially progressive ones: the party was described as "social Christian".[15] The party put together social conservatives with social progressives, economic liberals and social democrats.[16] Many former members of the Italian People's Party, one of the ancestor parties of DL, were members or close supporters of the Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions (CISL), the Catholic trade union.

After the 2004 European elections the new party decided not to become a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) or of the European People's Party, but founded the European Democratic Party (EDP) together with the Union for French Democracy. In the European Parliament, the EDP and ELDR Europarties established the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group (ALDE).

In 2005, DL participated in the foundation of the Alliance of Democrats, a worldwide network of centrist parties, along with the New Democrat Coalition of the United States Democratic Party, the EDP member parties and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.


Leading members of the party included:


DL was mainly composed of four factions, the first three of them supporting Francesco Rutelli's leadership:

Popular support[edit]

The electoral results of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy in the 10 most populated regions of Italy are shown in the table below. As DL was founded in 2002, the electoral results from 1994 to 2001 refer to the combined result of the precursor parties.

The results of 1994 (general) refer to the combined result of PPI, Segni Pact and AD, those of 1994 to the combined result of PPI and Pact of Democrats (joint-list of Segni Pact and AD, including also SI), those of 1996 (general and Sicilian regional) to the combined result of the joint-list of PPI and UD and RI (whose list was composed of the Segni Pact and SI), those of 1999 (European) and 2000 (regional) to the combined result of PPI, Dem and RI, those of 2001 (general and Sicilian regional) the DL federation (comprising at the time PPI, Dem, UDEUR and RI).

From 2004 (European) the results refer to DL, formed by PPI, Dem and RI, after the defection of UDEUR. The result for the 2006 general election refers to the election for the Senate, indeed DL contested the election for the Chamber of Deputies in a joint list with Democrats of the Left.

1994 general 1995 regional 1996 general 1999 European 2000 regional 2001 general 2004 European 2005 regional 2006 general
Piedmont 13.1 9.7 9.7 11.3 7.9 15.1 with Ulivo 10.4 11.7
Lombardy 15.0 9.4 10.4 10.1 with Ulivo 15.1 with Ulivo with Ulivo 10.0
Veneto 21.1 15.0 13.3 12.7 13.7 14.9 with Ulivo with Ulivo 11.9
Emilia-Romagna 14.8 9.3 11.8 10.9 7.7 15.5 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.4
Tuscany 15.7 6.4 10.0 9.1 6.9 13.4 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.0
Lazio 14.4 6.0 10.0 11.9 9.6 16.1 with Ulivo with Ulivo 9.1
Campania 16.8 13.8 12.2 17.9 18.7 12.1 with Ulivo 16.0 12.8
Apulia 22.2[17] 13.6 8.9 16.7 13.7 16.1 with Ulivo 9.7 11.1
Calabria 19.8 15.1 11.0 18.0 13.4 10.7 with Ulivo 14.5 10.3
Sicily 14.2 12.3 (1996) 10.1 19.6 12.3 (2001) 13.9 with Ulivo 12.0 (2006) 11.8
ITALY 18.9 - 11.1 14.6 - 14.5 - - 10.5

Electoral results[edit]

Italian Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
2001 5,391,827 (3rd) 14.5
80 / 630
2006 with Ulivo
90 / 630
Increase 10
Senate of the Republic
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
2001 with Ulivo
43 / 315
2006 3,664,622 (4th) 10.5
39 / 315
Decrease 4

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year Votes % Seats +/− Leader
2004 with Ulivo
7 / 72


An election campaign street stall for DL in Milan, 2004

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Margherita al 20 per cento Rutelli garante dell' intesa – la". Archivio – la
  2. ^ Corriere della Sera, 18 April 2007
  3. ^ a b Daniele Albertazzi, ed. (2009). "Glossary". Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition Under Berlusconi (2001-06). A&C Black. p. Xvii. ISBN 978-0-8264-9291-3.
  4. ^ Daniela Giannetti; Naoko Taniguchi (2011). "The Changing Bases of Party Support in Italy and Japan: Similarities and Differences". In Daniela Giannetti; Bernard Grofman (eds.). A Natural Experiment on Electoral Law Reform: Evaluating the Long Run. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 58. ISBN 9781441972286. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  5. ^ Donatella Campus (2009). "Defeated and Divided? The Left in Opposition". In Daniele Albertazzi (ed.). Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition Under Berlusconi (2001-06). A&C Black. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-8264-9291-3.
  6. ^ Robert Leonardi; Paolo Alberti (2004). "From Dominance to Doom? Christian Democracy in Italy". In Steven Van Hecke; Emmanuel Gerard (eds.). Christian Democratic Parties in Europe Since the End of the Cold War. Leuven University Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-90-5867-377-0.
  7. ^ a b Arch Puddington; Aili Piano; Camille Eiss; Katrina Neubauer; Tyler Roylance, eds. (2008). Freedom in the World 2008: The Annual Survey of Political Rights & Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 363. ISBN 978-0-7425-6306-3. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  8. ^ Clodagh Brook; Charlotte Ross; Nina Rothenberg (2009). Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition Under Berlusconi (2001-06). Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8264-9291-3. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b Claire Annesley, ed. (2013). Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Routledge. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-135-35547-0. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  10. ^ Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 407. ISBN 978-0-313-39181-1. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  11. ^ Maurizio Cotta; Luca Verzichelli (12 May 2007). Political Institutions of Italy. Oxford University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-19-928470-2. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  12. ^ a b Paolo Segatti (2013). "Italy's Majoritarian Experiment: continuities and discontinuities in Italian electoral behaviour between the First and Second republics". In Hideko Magara; Stefano Sacchi (eds.). The Politics of Structural Reforms: Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-85793-293-8.
  13. ^ Mark Kesselman; Joel Krieger; Christopher S. Allen; Stephen Hellman (2008). European Politics in Transition. Cengage Learning. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-618-87078-3. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  14. ^ Sarah Rose (2003). "The Parties of the Centre-left". In James Newell (ed.). The Italian General Election of 2001: Berlusconi's Victory. Manchester University Press. pp. 82–85. ISBN 978-0-7190-6100-4. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  15. ^ Agnes Blome (2016). The Politics of Work-Family Policy Reforms in Germany and Italy. Taylor & Francis. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-31-755437-0.
  16. ^ Alberta Giorgi (2014). "Ahab and the white whale: the contemporary debate around the forms of Catholic political commitment in Itay". In Luca Ozzano; Francesco Cavatorta (eds.). Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-317-68240-0.
  17. ^ Forza Italia failed to present a list and thus some centre-right voters voted for PPI and Segni Pact.

External links[edit]