The Death of Social Democracy. The case of the Italian Democratic Party

Davide Vampa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article tries to explain why Italy is the only Western European country
where a social democratic party no longer exists. It will be argued that the historical
weakness of the socialist tradition, due to the peculiarities of the Italian party system,
prevented the emergence of a strong social-democratic alternative to the Christiandemocratic government during the First Republic. Moreover, the attempt to create a
modern socialist party after the collapse of the PCI and PSI completely failed. So far the
new Democratic Party has not been able to broaden the support for the centre left and still
lacks a defined identity. This perhaps demonstrates that it is still difficult to build a valid
centre-left alternative to social democracy in Europe. The Italian case, however, cannot just
be dismissed as an anomaly. In fact, it well represents a general crisis of the European
moderate left. The debate that is taking place in France shows that other traditionally weak
socialist parties might follow the Italian example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-370
JournalBulletin of Italian Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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