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The Democrats
I Democratici
Former leaders Romano Prodi, Arturo Parisi
Founded February 27, 1999 (1999-02-27)
Dissolved March 24, 2002 (2002-03-24)
Ideology Centrism, social liberalism, Christian democracy, social democracy and Christian left (minorities)
International affiliation None
European affiliation European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Parliament Group European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
Politics of Italy
Political parties

For other uses of the term "The Democrats," see Democrat

The Democrats (I Democratici) is a former political party in Italy, launched by Romano Prodi in 1998.



Early groups of Ulivists were formed in 1995–1996, during the campaign for the 1996 general election, by close supporters of Romano Prodi who, as Prodi himself, were not members of any party of The Olive Tree. Ulivists organized "Clubs for Prodi" and the "Citizens for The Olive Tree" association. Although most Ulivists took part to the campaign only as activists and remained grassroots supporters during Prodi II Cabinet, some were elected with the Italian People's PartyDemocratic Union.

When Romano Prodi was ousted from his post of President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, he launched a new party with grassroots activists, disgruntled Populars, Democratic Union of Antonio Maccanico, the Movement for Democracy – The Net of Leoluca Orlando, Italy of Values of Antonio Di Pietro (who left the party in 2000 and re-established an independent Italy of Values) and the so-called Movement of Mayors of Francesco Rutelli and Massimo Cacciari.

Prodi led the party to a good result in the 1999 European Parliament election (7.7%). Some months later Prodi was nominated President of the European Commission and Arturo Parisi succeeded him as party leader. In early 2000 Parisi asked to the Democrats of the Left to dissolve into a new "Democratic Party".

In 2000 The Democrats agreed with the Italian People's Party, Italian Renewal and UDEUR Populars to form a joint list for the 2001 general election. The list, which gained a considerable success (14.5%), was transformed into a party in early 2002 under the name of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy.

The core of The Democrats, through the Ulivists' association, were an often dissenting member of that party and are now a minority faction within the Democratic Party.


The ideology of the party ranged from the "social Catholicism" of Prodi and Parisi, to the social liberalism of Maccanico and Rutelli, to social democracy and populism. At the European level The Democrats were affiliated to the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party.

The party was aimed at the formation of a "Democratic Party", in line with the tradition of The Olive Tree, comprising all the centre-left political forces.


Official website



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