Buttiglione, Rocco


Buttiglione, Rocco
(1948– )
   Born in the Adriatic resort of Gallipoli (Apulia), Buttiglione initiated his career as a political philosopher under the conservative Catholic scholar Augusto De Noce. He is the author of numerous widely translated books and articles on Marxism and Catholic political thought and was personally and intellectually close to Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla. In March 1994, Buttiglione entered politics and was elected to Parliament as a deputy for the reborn Partito Popolare Italiano/Italian People’s Party (PPI). Almost immediately, at the end of July 1994, he became party leader. Although a conservative, Buttiglione surprisingly sought to achieve good relations with the Partito Democratico della Sinistra/Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) and, in December 1994, joined with the PDS and the Lega Nord/Northern League (LN) to defeat the government of Silvio Berlusconi in a parliamentary vote of no confidence. Buttiglione strongly supported President Scalfaro’s subsequent decision to establish a government of technocrats headed by Lamberto Dini.
   In the spring of 1995, however, Buttiglione switched sides and proposed joining the right-wing alliance of Forza Italia, the Centro Cristiano Democratico/Christian Democratic Center (CCD), and the Alleanza Nazionale/National Alliance (AN). The PPI’s majority, preferring the alliance with the PDS, strongly opposed this tactic and succeeded in passing a vote of no confidence in Buttiglione’s leadership in March 1995. Buttiglione launched a new centrist party, the Cristiani Democratici Uniti/United Christian Democrats (CDU) in July 1995, which eventually merged with the CCD to form the Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro/ Union of Christian Democrats and of the Center (UDC). This party has retained the legal right to make use of the shield and cross emblem of the old Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy (DC).
   Buttiglione has remained a leading figure in the UDC and was minister for Europe in the government formed by Silvio Berlusconi in May 2001. In the summer of 2004, Buttiglione was proposed by the Italian government as European Union (EU) commissioner for justice and home affairs. Buttiglione’s outspoken conservative views on the EU’s social agenda (he is strongly opposed, for instance, to gay marriage) led to a major polemic over his nomination from homosexual and feminist groups, and the justice committee of the European Parliament eventually voted in October 2004 to reject his name.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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