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Mani pulite

Mani pulite (pronounced , Italian for "clean hands") was a nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption in Italy held in the 1990s. Mani pulite led to the demise of the so-called "First Republic", resulting in the disappearance of many political parties. Some politicians and industry leaders committed suicide after their crimes were exposed. Antonio Di Pietro was the main judicial figure in charge of the operation.

In some accounts, as many as 5,000 public figures fell under suspicion. At one point, more than half of the members of the Italian Parliament were under indictment. More than 400 city and town councils were dissolved because of corruption charges. The estimated value of bribes paid annually in the 1980s by Italian and foreign companies bidding for large government contracts reached 4 billion dollars (6.5 trillion lire).[1]

The corrupt system uncovered by these investigations was usually referred to as Tangentopoli (Italian pronunciation: ).[2] The term derives from tangente, which means kickback and in this context refers to kickbacks given for public works contracts,[1] and poli meaning city;[3] it is thus sometimes translated as "Bribesville" or "Kickback City."

Arrest of Mario Chiesa

Tangentopoli began on 17 February 1992 when judge Antonio Di Pietro had Mario Chiesa, a member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), arrested for accepting a bribe from a Milan cleaning firm. The PSI distanced themselves from Chiesa, with PSI leader Bettino Craxi calling him mariuolo, or "villain", a "wild splinter" of the otherwise clean party. Upset over this treatment by his former colleagues, Chiesa began to give information about corruption implicating them. This marked the beginning of the mani pulite investigation; news of political corruption began spreading in the press.

Extension of anti-corruption investigations

In the 1992 elections, the centre-right Christian Democracy (DC) held on to power when its coalition government kept a small majority, while leftist opposition parties gained support. However, the Italian Communist Party split after the fall of the Soviet Union, depriving the opposition of leadership. Many votes went to the far-right Lega Nord, which was not inclined to form alliances with other parties at the time. The resulting parliament was therefore weak and difficult to bring to an agreement.

During April 1992, many industrial figures and politicians from both the government and the opposition were arrested on charges of corruption. While the investigations started in Milan, they quickly spread to other towns as more politicians confessed. One grotesque situation occurred when a Socialist politician immediately confessed to all of his crimes to two Carabinieri who had come to his house, only to later discover that they had come to deliver a mere fine for a traffic violation.

Fundamental to this increased exposure was the general attitude of the main politicians to drop support for subordinates who got caught; this made many of them feel betrayed, and they often implicated many other figures, who in turn would implicate even more. On 2 September 1992, the Socialist politician Sergio Moroni, charged with corruption, committed suicide. He left a letter pleading guilty, declaring that crimes were not for his personal gain but for the party's benefit, and accused the financing system of all the political parties.

Effect on national politics

In the local December elections, DC lost half of their votes. The day after that, Bettino Craxi, leader of the Italian Socialist Party, was officially accused of corruption. After many other politicians were accused and jailed, Craxi eventually resigned.

On 5 March 1993, the Italian government of Giuliano Amato and his justice minister Giovanni Conso tried to find a solution with a decree, which allowed criminal charges for several bribery-related crimes to be replaced by administrative charges instead; according to Italian popular opinion at the time, that would have resulted in a de facto amnesty for most corruption charges. Amid public outrage and nationwide rallies, the Italian president of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro refused to sign the decree, deeming it unconstitutional. The following week, a US$250 million affair involving Eni, the government-controlled national energy company, was revealed. The stream of accusation, jailing and confessions continued.

On 25 March 1993, the Italian parliament changed the municipal electoral law in favor of a majoritarian system. Later, on 18 April, the public overwhelmingly backed the abrogation of the existing proportional representation parliamentary electoral law in a referendum (a mixed system was introduced that August), causing Amato to resign three days later. Still shocked by the recent events, the Parliament was unable to produce a new government. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, former governor of the national bank, was appointed head of the government and appointed a technical government without political influences. In the meantime, the investigation of Craxi was blocked by the parliament. Several members of the government, having been in office just three days, resigned in protest; among them were Francesco Rutelli, Minister of the Environment and Vincenzo Visco, Minister of Finance. In new local elections on 6 June 1993, DC lost half of its votes once again; the Socialist Party virtually disappeared. Instead Lega Nord, a protest movement with some ideological elements ranging from xenophobia and racism to independence from the rest of Italy and a general loathing of the political system, became the strongest political force in Northern Italy. The left-wing opposition was approaching majority, but still lacked unity and leadership.

Eventually, all four parties in government in 1992 disappeared, at different times in different ways: the Christian Democracy, the Italian Socialist Party, the Italian Socialist Democratic Party, and the Italian Liberal Party. The Democratic Party of the Left, the Italian Republican Party and the Movimento Sociale Italiano were the only surviving national parties; the Republican party is the only one that has maintained its name since.

According to the American ambassador Reginald Bartholomew, behind the operation there was the CIA who helped the Italian prosecutors to accuse the politicians.[4] [5] [6]

The Cusani trial

On 20 July 1993, the former Eni president, Gabriele Cagliari, committed suicide in jail. His wife later gave back $3 million of illegal funds.

Meanwhile, the trial of Sergio Cusani began. Mr. Cusani was accused of crimes connected to a joint venture between Eni and Montedison, named Enimont. It was broadcast on national television, and was a sort of showcase of the old politics being brought to their responsibilities. While Cusani himself was not a major figure, the connection of his crimes to the Enimont affair called in all the nation's major politicians as witnesses.

A high note was reached in the Cusani trial when former head of government Arnaldo Forlani, answering a question, simply said "I don't remember"; he also happened to be very nervous and did not notice that sweat was accumulating on his lips, and that image was by many considered symbolic of the people's disgust for the corruption system. Bettino Craxi, instead, admitted that his party received $93 million of illegal funds. His defense was that "everyone was doing this" anyway.

Even the Lega Nord was implicated in the trial; secretary Umberto Bossi and former treasurer Alessandro Patelli were convicted for receiving 200 million lire of illegal funding (approx. $100,000 at the time).

A bribe to the Italian Communist Party was alleged, but it was not established who had committed the offence. A number of Milanese members of the Democratic Party of the Left were charged with corruption during their time as members of the PCI but they were acquitted. As prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro stated, "Penal responsibility is personal. I cannot bring here a person with the first name Communist and last name Party". (La responsabilità penale è personale, non posso portare in giudizio una persona che si chiami Partito di nome e Comunista di cognome.)

The Enimont trial itself was carried out after the Cusani trial, with much less public interest.

Investigations on other fronts

In the meantime, the investigation expanded outside the political range: on 2 September 1993 the Milan judge Diego Curtò was arrested. On 21 April 1994, 80 financial policemen and 300 industry personalities were charged with corruption. A few days later, the secretary of the large Fiat corporation admitted corruption with a letter to a newspaper.

In 1994, Silvio Berlusconi entered politics by storm and won the elections. Many think that this move was to preserve his many industries from possible corruption charges. This suspicion was reinforced on 11 February, when Silvio Berlusconi's brother, Paolo, admitted to corruption crimes. On 13 July 1994, the Berlusconi government made a new law to avoid jail time for most corruption crimes.

The law was carefully timed as Italy had defeated Bulgaria in the 1994 Football World Cup's semifinals, and it is likely that the government expected to exploit an eventual victory to pass the law under silence in a football-crazy country. However, as Roberto Baggio shot high the last penalty against Brazil, and the news was showing images of hated, corrupt politicians getting out of jail, the public opinion became enraged; the images of Francesco De Lorenzo, former minister of Health, were especially striking, since the general public perceived stealing money from hospitals an especially hateful act.

Just a few days before, the arrested policemen had been talking about corruption in the Fininvest media industry, the biggest Berlusconi family property. Most of the Mani pulite investigation pool declared that they would respect the state's laws, but they could not work in a situation where duty and conscience were to conflict: they requested therefore to be reassigned to other duties.

Since the government could not afford to be seen as an adversary of the popular judge pool, the decree was hastily revoked and marked a "misunderstanding"; minister for internal affairs Roberto Maroni from Lega Nord claimed that he had not even had the chance to read it. While the minister of Justice was Alfredo Biondi, allegations that Cesare Previti, a lawyer from Berlusconi's company Fininvest, had written it, are at least credible.

On 29 July Berlusconi's brother was again arrested and immediately released.

Escalating conflict between Silvio Berlusconi and Antonio Di Pietro

At this point there began what has been described by many as the "Berlusconi-Di Pietro battle". While Berlusconi's industries were being investigated, "inspectors" were sent from the government to the Milanese judges' office to look for formal irregularities. None were ever found, but this tactic, coupled with Berlusconi's firm grip on the information system, helped spread what is described in other environments as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). The battle ended without winners: on 6 December Di Pietro resigned. Two weeks later, the Berlusconi government resigned before a critical confidence vote in Parliament, which was generally expected to go against them.

During 1995, many investigations were started against Antonio Di Pietro, who would years later be cleared of all charges, while Silvio Berlusconi incurred other charges of corruption. It was later found that the main prosecutor of Antonio Di Pietro in these times, Fabio Salamone from Brescia, was the brother of a man that Antonio Di Pietro himself had prosecuted, and who was sentenced to 18 months of jail for various corruption charges. It took however some time before the authorities realized this and ordered Salamone to other duties even though his investigations had taken a completely different direction: Paolo Berlusconi (Silvio's brother) and Cesare Previti (former minister) were accused of a conspiracy against Di Pietro but the prosecutor who later replaced Salamone asked for their acquittal and so did the court.

After being cleared, Antonio Di Pietro went into politics, something he had previously ruled out on the grounds that he did not want to exploit the popularity gained doing what he perceived to be just his duty. His movement is named Italia dei Valori ("Italy of values").

In 1998, Cesare Previti, former manager of Fininvest and then sitting in parliament after the Berlusconi government, avoided jailing thanks to parliamentary intervention, even though Berlusconi and his allies were in opposition. Bettino Craxi was sentenced to several years cumulative jail time in definitive convictions and fled to Tunisia, where he remained until his death on 19 January 2000.

Statutory term strategy

After 1994, the danger of trials being cancelled due to the expiration of statutory terms was becoming very real. This was clear to the judges and to the politicians, and the latter ones (with no distinction between Berlusconi's coalition and the Olive Tree, especially under the leadership of Massimo D'Alema) either ignored the pleas of the judiciary system for more funding to buy equipment, or passed laws that made the notoriously slow Italian trials even slower and subject to earlier prescription.

Furthermore, the intricate nature of Italian laws allowed cunning lawyers to use many delaying tactics: an instructive example was a prosecution of Silvio Berlusconi, where he was accused of misappropriation of funds of his own company, Fininvest, in order to prepare black funds that could have been used for bribes or other illegitimate purposes; on the last possible day, a lawyer from Fininvest appeared in court and complained that his company had not been formally notified of the trial. While this trial was well publicized in the media (and also in Fininvest's media themselves), the formality forced the trial to be restarted from scratch, and Berlusconi was finally acquitted by expiration of statutory terms. Being acquitted in this first trial, he could later benefit from a general reduction of terms for other trials, which in turn expired earlier with a domino effect.

After Silvio Berlusconi's victory in 2001, public opinion had turned so far against judges, where it is not only openly acceptable to criticize judges for having carried out Mani pulite, but also increasingly difficult to broadcast opinions favorable to Milan's pool. Some blame Berlusconi's power in media as having played a role in this change or the inability of the opposite parties to gain the consent of the conservative electors. Even Umberto Bossi, whose Lega Nord has been an opposition party became highly critical of judges.

Lottizzazione

The term lottizzazione, meaning the way a terrain is divided up in minor parts or lotti, came to indicate the procedure of awarding top positions in important state conglomerates such as IRI, ENEL or ENI to political figures, or at least managers with a clear political orientation. This usually trickled down to lower levels, creating power centres depending on political parties that controlled a significant part of the production system. The available seats were usually awarded so that government parties (and opposition parties like the Italian Communist Party) would get a share of power corresponding to their perceived influence in the government.

In modern culture

In 2005, artist Gianni Motti created a piece of soap, named Mani Pulite, based on the scandal. This piece was claimed to have been created out of the fat from a liposuction of Silvio Berlusconi. It was sold at the 36th edition of Art Basel for 15,000 euros.[7]

A 2015 television series titled 1992 is based on the events of mani pulite.[8]

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Politics of Italy

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Politics of Italy is conducted through a Parliamentary Republic with a multi-party system . Italy has been a democratic republic since 2 June 1946 , when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum and a constituent assembly was elected to draft a constitution, which was promulgated on 1 January 1948. The executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers , which is led by the Prime Minister , officially referred to as President of the Council ("Presidente del Consiglio"). Legislative power is vested in the two houses of parliament primarily, and secondarily on the Council of Ministers, which can introduce bills and holds the majority in the parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. It is headed by the High Council of the Judiciary. The president is the head of state , though his position is separate from all branches. The current President is Sergio Mattarella and the current Prime Minister of Italy is Paolo Gentiloni. Government Article 1 ...more...



Party system

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A party system is a concept in comparative political science concerning the system of government by political parties in a democratic country. The idea is that political parties have basic similarities: they control the government , have a stable base of mass popular support, and create internal mechanisms for controlling funding, information and nominations. The concept was originated by European scholars studying the United States, especially James Bryce and Moisey Ostrogorsky , and has been expanded to cover other democracies. Giovanni Sartori devised the most widely used classification method for party systems. He suggested that party systems should be classified by the number of relevant parties and the degree of fragmentation. Party systems can be distinguished by the effective number of parties . Types of party systems Dominant-party system : a system where there is "a category of parties/political organizations that have successively won election victories and whose future defeat cannot be envisaged ...more...



Bribery

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Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering , giving , receiving , or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty . Alcohol money case is a real-life example of bribery. Gifts of money or other items of value which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery. Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities Commission involved in electric rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. Giving the rebate to influence them ...more...



Milan

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Milan ( English: or ; Italian : Milano  (   listen ) ; Lombard : Milan ( Milanese variant )) is the capital of Lombardy and the second most populous city in Italy after Rome , with the city proper having a population of 1,360,422 while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,228,000. Its continuously built-up urban area (that stretches beyond the boundaries of the Metropolitan City of Milan ) has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres (730 square miles), ranking 4th in the European Union. The wider Milan metropolitan area , known as Greater Milan , is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 8,173,176, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy . Milan is considered a leading Alpha Global City , with strengths in the arts , commerce , design , education , entertainment , fashion , finance , healthcare , media , services , research , and tourism ...more...



Italian Liberal Party

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The Italian Liberal Party ( Italian : Partito Liberale Italiano , PLI ) was a liberal and conservative political party in Italy . The PLI, which is the heir of the liberal currents of both the Historical Right and the Historical Left , was a minor party after World War II , but also a frequent junior party in government, especially since 1979. History Origins The origins of liberalism in Italy are in the Historical Right , a parliamentary group formed by Camillo Benso di Cavour in the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia following the 1848 revolution . The group was moderately conservative and supported centralised government, restricted suffrage , regressive taxation , and free trade . They dominated politics following Italian unification in 1861 but never formed a party, basing their power on census suffrage and first-past-the-post voting system. The Right was opposed by the more progressive Historical Left , which overthrew Marco Minghetti 's government during the so-called "Parliamentary Revolution" of 1 ...more...



Il Divo (film)

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Il Divo ( Italian pronunciation:  , The Divine) is a 2008 Italian biographical drama film directed by Paolo Sorrentino . It is based on the figure of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti . It competed at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 , where it was awarded the Jury Prize . The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. Synopsis As the film opens, Giulio Andreotti gives an inner monologue observing how he has managed to survive his tumultuous political career while his various detractors have died. A montage shows the murders of various people connected to Andreotti, including journalist Mino Pecorelli , Carabinieri general Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa , bankers Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi , and former prime minister Aldo Moro . The story of Giulio Andreotti , a seven-time prime minister of Italy notorious for his alleged ties to the Mafia . The narration spans the per ...more...



David Riondino

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David Riondino (born 10 June 1952) is an Italian actor, singer-songwriter, comedian, writer, playwright, screenwriter, director and composer. Life and career Born in Florence , the son of a teacher, Riondino started his career in the mid-1970s as a member of the musical ensamble Collettivo Victor Jara. In 1979 he made his solo debut with the album David Riondino, and the same year he was the opening act in a series of concerts by Fabrizio De André and Premiata Forneria Marconi . In 1980, following his second album, Boulevard, with arrangements by Shel Shapiro , he focused on his live activity, where he mixed improvisation, music and cabaret. Starting from the second half of the 1980s Riondino enjoyed a large success thanks to the semi-regular participation to the Canale 5 show Maurizio Costanzo Show , where he used to improvise surreal songs imitating the style of the Brazilian singer-songwriters. In 1987 he released his third album Tango dei miracoli , whose booklet was illustrated by Milo Manara . Ri ...more...



Michele Santoro

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Michele Santoro (born 2 July 1951) is an Italian journalist , and television host and presenter . He also served till October 2005 as Member of the European Parliament for Southern Italy with the Olive Tree , part of the Socialist Group and sat on the European Parliament 's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs , being a substitute for the Committee on Culture and Education , a member of the Delegation to the EU - Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and a substitute for the Delegation to the EU- Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Education and career Santoro was born in Salerno . A graduate in Philosophy , he made a successful debut in the Italian media as editor-in-chief on the regional newspaper La Voce della Campania ("Voice of Campania") and collaborating with some other national newspapers and magazines like Il Mattino , L'Unità and Epoca . Before being hired by RAI , he had had some experience with a number of radio stations. He started his RAI career in TG3 , the Rai Tre new ...more...



Vincenzo De Luca

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Vincenzo De Luca (born May 8, 1949 in Ruvo del Monte ) is an Italian politician, member of the Democratic Party . De Luca has been Mayor of Salerno for more than 17 years and he is serving as President of the Campania region since 18 June 2015. Early life Vincenzo De Luca was born in Ruvo del Monte , in the province of Potenza , on May 1949 and moved, then in Salerno at an early age with his family. He completed his studies in Salerno earning his diploma at the high lyceum gymnasium Torquato Tasso and, after a few years of medical studies in Naples , he abandoned with the rise of political engagement, and graduated in philosophy at the University of Salerno . After graduating, for a few years he taught philosophy in high schools. Political career During 1970s De Luca became a member of the Italian Communist Party , at the time led by Enrico Berlinguer . In 1975, after having been head of the provincial organization, he will be appointed provincial secretary of the PCI, leading the federation for 10 years. I ...more...



Italian Social Movement

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The Italian Social Movement ( MSI ), later the Italian Social Movement – National Right ( Italian : Movimento Sociale Italiano – Destra Nazionale , MSI–DN), was a neo-fascist and post- fascist political party in Italy . Formed in 1946 by supporters of the former dictator Benito Mussolini , most of whom took part in the experience of the Italian Social Republic and the Republican Fascist Party , the MSI became the fourth largest party in Italy by the early 1960s. The party gave informal local and eventually national support to the Christian Democrats from the late 1940s and through the 1950s, sharing anti-communist ideologies. In the early 1960s, the party was pushed to the sidelines of Italian politics, and only gradually started to gain some political recognition in the 1980s. There was internal competition between the party's moderate and radical factions. The radicals led the party in its formative years under Giorgio Almirante , while the moderates gained control in the 1950s and 1960s. Almirante's return ...more...



Arnaldo Forlani

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Arnaldo Forlani , OMI OESSH ( Italian pronunciation:  ; born 8 December 1925) is an Italian politician who served as the 43rd Prime Minister of Italy from 18 October 1980 to 28 June 1981. He also held the office of Deputy Prime Minister , Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence . Forlani, a member of the right-wing of the Christian Democracy , was one of the most prominent Italian politician from 1970s to early 1990s . At age 92, Forlani is currently the oldest living former Italian Prime Minister. Early life and career Arnaldo Forlani was born in Pesaro , Marche , from a middle-class family. In 1948, after the degree in law at the University of Urbino , Forlani began his political career, holding the position of provincial secretary of Christian Democracy for Pesaro; he was later elected in the municipal and provincial councils. In 1954 he became a member of the central committee of Christian Democracy. In the 1958 general election Forlani was elected in the Chamber of Deputies for the first t ...more...



Umberto Bossi

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Umberto Bossi (born 19 September 1941) is an Italian politician, former leader of the Lega Nord , a party seeking autonomy or independence for Northern Italy or Padania . He is married to Manuela Marrone and has four sons (of whom one was from his first wife). Implicated in the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of euros in public funds, Bossi was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment in July 2017. Birth and education Umberto Bossi was born in 1941 in Cassano Magnago , in the province of Varese , Lombardy . He graduated from scientific high school (liceo scientifico) and later began studying medicine at the University of Pavia , though he did not get a degree. While there, in February 1979 he met Bruno Salvadori, leader of the Valdostan Union . Politics After the death of Salvadori in a car accident during the summer of 1980, Bossi began focusing more on Lombardy . After two years, the autonomist Lega Lombarda was born. In that period Bossi met his second wife, Manuela Marrone. The Lega Lomba ...more...



Benedetto Santapaola

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Benedetto Santapaola (born June 4, 1938), better known as Nitto is a prominent mafioso from Catania , the main city and industrial centre on Sicily 's east coast. His nickname is il cacciatore (the hunter), because of his passion for shooting game. He is currently in jail serving several life sentences. Early years Nitto Santapaola was born in the degraded neighbourhood of San Cristoforo, in Catania , into a poor family together with his brothers Salvatore, Antonino, Natale and numerous cousins, such as the Ferrera clan, the Ercolano clan and the Romeo clan, all members or associates of Cosa Nostra , and the future nucleus of the Santapaola-Ercolano Mafia family. At the beginning of the 1960s, Santapaola was introduced by his cousin Francesco Ferrera into the largest Mafia family of Catania, at the time under the command of Giuseppe Calderone . Santapaola’s first denunciation was in 1962 for theft and criminal conspiracy. In 1970 he was sent into internal exile and in 1975 he was denounced for cigarette smug ...more...



Cordon sanitaire

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Look up cordon sanitaire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Cordon sanitaire ( French pronunciation: ​ ) is a French phrase that, literally translated, means "sanitary cordon". It originally denoted a barrier implemented to stop the spread of infectious diseases. It may be used interchangeably with the term " quarantine ", and although the terms are related, cordon sanitaire refers to the restriction of movement of people within a defined geographic area, such as a community. The term is also often used metaphorically , in English, to refer to attempts to prevent the spread of an ideology deemed unwanted or dangerous, such as the containment policy adopted by George F. Kennan against the Soviet Union . For disease A cordon sanitaire is generally created around an area experiencing an epidemic of infectious disease, or along the border between two nations. Once the cordon is established, people from the affected area are no longer allowed to leave or enter it. In the most extreme form, the cordon is not lif ...more...



Giorgio Napolitano

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Giorgio Napolitano , OMRI ( Italian:  ; born 29 June 1925) is an Italian politician who was the 11th President of the Republic from 2006 to 2015, the only Italian President to be reelected to the Presidency. Due to his dominant position in Italian politics , critics often refer to him as Re Giorgio ("King George"). He is the longest serving President in the history of the modern Italian Republic , which has been in existence since 1946. Although the presidency is a nonpartisan office as guarantor of Italy's Constitution, Napolitano was a longtime member of the Italian Communist Party (and of its post-Communist social democratic successors, from the Democratic Party of the Left onwards). He was a leading member of a modernizing faction on the right of the party. First elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1953, he took an assiduous interest in parliamentary life and was President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1992 to 1994. He was Minister of the Interior from 1996 to 1998 under Romano Prodi . Napolitano wa ...more...



Aldo Brancher

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Aldo Brancher (born 30 May 1943; Trichiana , Veneto ) is an Italian politician. He served as a minister without portfolio in the Government of Silvio Berlusconi for 17 days in June/July 2010, but was forced to resign due to a pending court case. Early career Before his political career, Brancher was a Pauline priest. He was a key figure in the publication of the Paulines' magazine, Famiglia Cristiana . After leaving the priesthood, he worked for Berlusconi's advertising house, Publitalia '80 , before moving on to Berlusconi's holding company, Fininvest . In 1993, while working for Fininvest, Brancher was caught up in the Tangentopoli political corruption scandal. He served three months in San Vittore prison for false accounting and for illegally funding the Italian Socialist Party , but was released on a technicality following a ruling by the Court of Cassation . Political career Brancher was elected to the 14th legislature of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in May 2001 and was re-elected in April 2006 ...more...



Dario Fo

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Dario Fo ( Italian pronunciation:  ; 24 March 1926 – 13 October 2016) was an Italian actor– playwright , comedian, singer, theatre director , stage designer , songwriter, painter, political campaigner for the Italian left-wing and the recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature . In his time he was "arguably the most widely performed contemporary playwright in world theatre". Much of his dramatic work depends on improvisation and comprises the recovery of "illegitimate" forms of theatre, such as those performed by giullari (medieval strolling players) and, more famously, the ancient Italian style of commedia dell'arte . His plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed across the world, including in Argentina , Chile , Iran , the Netherlands , Poland , Romania , South Africa , South Korea , Spain , Sri Lanka Sweden, the UK and Yugoslavia . His work of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is peppered with criticisms of assassinations, corruption, organised crime, racism, Roman Catholic theology an ...more...



Italian general election, 1992

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General elections were held in Italy on 5 April 1992, , to select the Eleventh Republican Parliament . They were the first without the traditionally second most important political force in Italian politics , the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which had been disbanded in 1991. It was replaced by a more social-democratic oriented force, the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), and by a minority entity formed by members who did not want to renounce the communist tradition, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC). However, put together they gained around 4% less than what the already declining PCI had obtained in the 1987 Italian general election , despite PRC had absorbed the disbanded Proletarian Democracy (DP). The other major feature was the sudden rise of the federalist Northern League , which increased its vote from 0.5% of the preceding elections to more than 8%, increasing from a single member both in the Chamber and the Senate to 55 and 25, respectively. The long wave ("onda lunga") of Bettino Craxi 's n ...more...



Lega Nord

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Lega Nord ( LN ; literally "North League"), whose complete name is Lega Nord per l'Indipendenza della Padania ("North League for the Independence of Padania"), is a regionalist political party in Italy . The party is often referred to as Northern League by English-language sources, while in Italy it is also referred to simply as Lega or Carroccio . The LN was founded in 1991 as a federation of several regional parties of Northern and Central Italy , notably including Liga Veneta , Lega Lombarda , Piemont Autonomista , Uniun Ligure , Lega Emiliano-Romagnola and Alleanza Toscana . The party advocates the transformation of Italy into a federal state , fiscal federalism and greater regional autonomy , especially for Northern regions . At times the LN has advocated Padanian nationalism and the secession of the North, referred to by party members as Padania . Prior to the party's adoption of the term, Padania was infrequently used to name the Po Valley and was promoted since 1963 by sports journalist Gianni Brera a ...more...



Marcello Dell'Utri

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Marcello Dell'Utri (born 11 September 1941 in Palermo , Sicily) is a convicted mafia criminal and a former Italian politician senior advisor to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi . Formerly Senator in the Italian Senate for The People of Freedom political party, he was also member of the Italian Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe and of the Italian Parliamentary Delegation to the Western European Union (WEO). He was appointed artistic director of the now closed Teatro Lirico in Milan by the then mayor Letizia Moratti ( PDL party) his appointment has been strongly criticized by art critic and then Head of Culture Department of the Municipality of Milan Vittorio Sgarbi . Dell'Utri has been found guilty of tax fraud , false accounting , and complicity in conspiracy with the Sicilian Mafia ; the conviction for the last charge has been upheld on 9 May 2014 by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation which sentenced Dell'Utri to seven years in prison. The conviction is final and cannot be further appeal ...more...



Milan–Bologna high-speed railway

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High speed train ETR500 at Milan Central Station The Milan–Bologna high-speed railway is a railway line that links the cities of Milan and Bologna , part of the Italian high-speed rail network . It runs parallel to the historical north-south railway between Milan and Bologna, which itself follows the ancient Roman Road , the Via Aemilia . The new railway follows the Autostrada A1 closely for much of its length. The new line allows faster traffic to run separated and increase the overall railway capacity between the two cities. The line is part of Corridor 1 of the European Union 's Trans-European high-speed rail network , which connects Berlin to Palermo . The line is 214 kilometers long from the Milano Centrale to Bologna Centrale station , with trains taking about 1 hour and 5 minutes to cover the distance. The first section of the line on the outskirts of Milan was opened in 1997. A 15 km section between Bologna and Modena was opened for freight traffic in September 2006 and for passenger traffic in Octobe ...more...



Duilio Poggiolini

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Duilio Poggiolini (born 25 July 1929 in Rome ), was general manager of the pharmaceutical department of the National Ministry of Health under Francesco De Lorenzo and was involved in the Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) scandal of Tangentopoli. He was member of the P2 Masonic lodge. He graduated in medicine in 1954, majored in physiology and in 1963 achieved a position as professor of microbiology, in 1966 professor in chemotherapy, then in 1972 professor of hygiene. In 1972 he became inspector general at the Ministry of Health. In 1981 he became the Italian representative in the World Health Organization for the essential drugs program. In 1991 he was elected President of the Commission for pharmaceuticals concerned with EEC harmonization of medicine between the Member States of the European Economic Community . He was also vice president of the Italian Pharmacopoeia Commission. On 20 September 1993 he was arrested at Lausanne, in Switzerland, due to a series of charges related to forgery and bribery in the manage ...more...



Spanish general election, 2015

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The 2015 Spanish general election was held on Sunday, 20 December 2015, to elect the 11th Cortes Generales of the Kingdom of Spain . All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies were up for election, as well as 208 of 266 seats in the Senate . At exactly 4 years and one month since the previous general election, this remains the longest timespan between two general elections since the Spanish transition to democracy , and the only time in Spain a general election has been held on the latest possible date allowed under law. After a legislature plagued by the effects of an ongoing economic crisis , corruption scandals affecting the ruling party and social distrust with traditional parties, the election resulted in the most fragmented Spanish parliament in its history. While Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy 's People's Party (PP) emerged as the largest party overall, it obtained its worst result since 1989 . The party's net loss of 64 seats and 16 percentage points also marked the largest loss of support for a sitting ...more...



Vittorio Sgarbi

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Vittorio Umberto Antonio Maria Sgarbi (born 8 May 1952 in Ferrara ) is an Italian art critic , art historian, politician, cultural commentator and television personality. In 1996 he was condemned for fraud against the Italian State and in 2012 he ceased to be Mayor of Salemi because of Mafia infiltration. He was appointed curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale . Several times a member of the Italian Parliament , he served also in Milan 's municipal government. Biography His Sgarbi Quotidiani (Daily Sgarbi) TV show during the 1990s was a 15-minute daily discussion of current events. During some of those shows he furiously attacked some Italian judges during the Tangentopoli corruption scandal. This scandal led to great turmoil in Italian politics, with the fall of many traditional parties and the subsequent rise of Silvio Berlusconi , subsequently himself convicted of tax fraud. Sgarbi attacked the use of preventive detention in prison; he declared that many people had been arrested with ...more...



Democratic Party (Italy)

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The Democratic Party ( Italian : Partito Democratico , PD ) is a social-democratic political party in Italy . The party's secretary is Matteo Renzi , who was elected in the 2013 leadership election and re-elected in the 2017 leadership election . Maurizio Martina serves as deputy secretary, while Matteo Orfini is the party's president. The PD was founded on 14 October 2007 upon the merger of various centre-left parties which had been part of The Olive Tree list and The Union coalition in the 2006 general election . They notably included: the social-democratic Democrats of the Left (DS), successors of the Italian Communist Party and the Democratic Party of the Left , which was folded with several social-democratic parties ( Labour Federation , Social Christians , etc.) in 1998; and the largely Catholic -inspired Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (DL), merger of the Italian People's Party (heir of the Christian Democracy party's left-wing), The Democrats and Italian Renewal in 2002. The PD's main ideological tr ...more...



Forza Italia

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Forza Italia (translated to "Forward Italy" or "Let's Go Italy", FI ) was a centre-right political party in Italy with liberal-conservative , Christian-democratic , liberal and populist tendencies, as well as a significant social-democratic minority. Its leader was Silvio Berlusconi , four times Prime Minister of Italy . The party was founded in December 1993 and won its first general election soon afterwards in March 1994. It was the main member of the Pole of Freedoms / Pole of Good Government , Pole for Freedoms and House of Freedoms coalitions, and is considered (by both insiders and outsiders) to have been very different from the other Italian political parties. In November 2008 the National Council of the party, under the chairmanship of Alfredo Biondi , voted to merge Forza Italia into The People of Freedom (PdL), Berlusconi's new political vehicle, whose official foundation took place in March 2009. Throughout its existence, the party was characterised by a strong reliance on the personal imag ...more...



Rocco Buttiglione

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Rocco Buttiglione ( Italian pronunciation:  ; born 6 June 1948) is an Italian Union of Christian and Centre Democrats politician and an academic. Buttiglione's nomination for a post as European Commissioner with a portfolio that was to include civil liberties , resulted in controversy as some political groups opposed him for his conservative Roman Catholic views against homosexuality , despite his assurances that these were only his personal convictions and would not dictate his administration. Buttiglione is a Professor of political science at Saint Pius V University in Rome, and member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences . He served as a minister for EU policies (from 2001 to 2005) and then as Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities (from 2005 to 2006) in Silvio Berlusconi 's governments. In 2005 Buttiglione received an honorary doctoral degree for his commitment to the ideas of liberty. In May 2006, he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Turin . Previous career Rocco Buttiglione was born in Galli ...more...



Economy of Milan

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The city of Milan is the capital of the Lombardy Region, which has a 2013 GDP of €330 billion or US $550 billion (twice as rich as Massachusets State). It was Europe 's most expensive city in 2015. Milan is the world's 11th most expensive city for expatriate employees, and its influence in fashion, commerce, business, banking, design, trade and industry make it an Alpha world city , as well as the world's 42nd most important in the Global Cities Index. Also, the city's hinterland is Italy's largest industrial area, and the FieraMilano fair is considered the largest in Europe. Milan, also, has Italy's highest GDP (per capita), about €35,137 (US$52,263), which is 161.6% of the EU average GDP per capita. Milan is also regarded as the true current fashion capital of the world, according to the 2009 Global Language Monitor , and annually competes with other major international centres, such as New York, Paris, Rome, London, Turin and Tokyo. Major fashion houses and labels, such as Versace , Gucci , Armani , Val ...more...



Giuliano Pisapia

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Giuliano Pisapia (born 20 May 1949) is an Italian lawyer and politician, twice member of the Parliament (from 1996 to 2006) and former Mayor of Milan . As a politician, he has been a member of two left-wings parties, first Proletarian Democracy and then the Communist Refoundation Party ; in Milan's mayoral election, he was endorsed by a large left-wing coalition, after winning the primary election of the Centre-left with the strong support of Nichi Vendola 's Left Ecology Freedom . As a lawyer, he participated in a number of notable trials with political implications, including that of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the trial that followed the death of anti-global activist Carlo Giuliani , shot by the police during the 27th G8 summit . Biography Giuliano Pisapia is the son of lawyer Gian Domenico Pisapia , who has contributed to the definition of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure of 1989. In the 1970s he joined Proletarian Democracy, a far-leftist party. He attended the Liceo classico "Giovanni Berchet" ...more...



Franco Cuomo

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Franco Cuomo (22 April 1938 in Naples – 23 July 2007 in Rome ) was an Italian journalist and writer. Best known for his historical novels set in the Middle Ages , he was short-listed twice for the Strega Award (the most prestigious literary prize in Italy), first with Gunther d'Amalfi, cavaliere templare (Gunter D’Amalfi, Knight Templar ) in 1990 and then Il Codice Macbeth in 1997. Cuomo gained a degree in law and then simultaneously worked in journalism and the theatre, moving on to fiction and historical studies. His most recent works included the novels I sotterranei del cielo, Il tatuaggio, and Anime perdute. Notturno veneziano con messa nera e fantasmi d'amore and the nonfiction I dieci examined the Italian scientists who signed the "Racial Manifesto" in 1938 leading to the introduction of racial laws. Among his other works of fiction are I semidei, a spy story set in contemporary Italy with clear references to many of the major figures involved in Tangentopoli inspired by his work as journalist, Il sign ...more...



Italian Republican Party

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The Italian Republican Party ( Italian : Partito Repubblicano Italiano , PRI ) is a liberal and social-liberal political party in Italy . The PRI is a party with old roots that began with a left-wing position, claiming descent from the political thought of Giuseppe Mazzini . The early party was also known for its anti-clerical and anti-fascist roots. The PRI was a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) until 2010 and, while not being among its members, sports the logos of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ELDR's successor) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group on its website and membership card, respectively. History Background and foundation The PRI traces its origins from the time of Italian unification and, more specifically, to the democratic-republican wing represented by figures such as Giuseppe Mazzini , Carlo Cattaneo and Carlo Pisacane . They were against the so-called piemontesizzazione of Italy, meaning the conquest by war of the ...more...




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