Italian People's Party (1919)
Alcide De Gasperi
|Founded||18 January 1919|
|Dissolved||5 November 1926|
(not legal successor)
The Italian People's Party was founded in 1919 by Luigi Sturzo, a Sicilian Catholic priest. The PPI was backed by Pope Benedict XV to oppose the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). The party supported various social reforms, including the foundations of a welfare state, women's suffrage and Proportional representation voting.
In the 1919 general election, the first in which the PPI took part, the party won 20.5% of the vote and 100 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, a result virtually confirmed in 1921. The PPI was the second largest Italian political party after the PSI at the time. Its heartlands were interior Veneto and north-western Lombardy. In 1919 the party won 42.6% in Veneto (49.4% in Vicenza), 30.1% in Lombardy (64.3% in Bergamo), 24.4% in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 27.3% in the Marche and 26.2% in Lazio, while it was much weaker in Piedmont and in Southern Italy.
The PPI was divided mainly into two factions: the "Christian Democrats" were favourable to an accord with the Socialists, while the "Moderate Clericalists" supported an alliance with the liberal parties, which eventually happened. The latter included Alcide De Gasperi. Some Populars took part in Benito Mussolini's first government in 1922, leading the party to a division between opponents of Mussolini and those who supported him. These eventually joined the National Fascist Party. Most of the PPI members later took part in Christian Democracy.
The party's ideological sources were principally to be found in Catholic social teaching, the Christian democratic doctrines developed from the 19th century and on (see Christian democracy), the political thought of Romolo Murri and Luigi Sturzo. The Papal encyclical, Rerum novarum (1891) of Pope Leo XIII, offered a basis for social and political doctrine.
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Election year|| # of
| % of
| # of
overall seats won
100 / 508
108 / 535
39 / 535
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