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The United Christian Democrats (Cristiani Democratici Uniti, CDU) was a christian-democratic party in Italy.

History

It was born in 1995 by a split, led by Rocco Buttiglione (secretary of the Italian People's Party in 1994-95), Roberto Formigoni and Gianfranco Rotondi, of those members of the Italian People's Party who wanted to enter in alliance with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

The party formed a joint list with Forza Italia in 1995 regional elections and Roberto Formigoni was elected president of Lombardy, while in 1996 it formed an alliance with the Christian Democratic Centre (CCD) for the general election, in which CCD-CDU scored 5.6%.

In June 1998, Buttiglione led the party into the Democratic Union for the Republic, a new Christian-Democratic outfit launched by Francesco Cossiga and Clemente Mastella, who had left CCD to form the Christian Democrats for the Republic (CDR). In October, when Buttiglione briefly decided to support the centre-left government of Massimo D'Alema, alongside with the rest of UDR, Roberto Formigoni, Raffaele Fitto, Maurizio Lupi and many regional deputies in Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont left the party to form the Christian Democrats for Freedom, which was later merged into Forza Italia.

In February 1999, UDR split between those who supported Cossiga, who formed the Union for the Republic (UpR), and those who supported Mastella, who formed the Union of Democrats for Europe. Buttiglione re-established CDU as a separate party and started to get closer again to Berlusconi's centre-right.

In 1999 European Parliament elections, CDU scored 2.2% and elected two MEPs, while in 2001 it formed an alliance with CCD, as in 1996, gaining the 3.2%.

In 2002 the United Christian Democrats, the Christian Democratic Centre and European Democracy (DE) merged into the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC). Rocco Buttiglione was elected President of the new party.

Leadership

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