Alleanza Nazionale

National Alliance (AN)
   The heir to the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano/Italian Social Movement (MSI), the AN has established itself as the third-largest party in Italy. The AN was created by the party secretary of the MSI, Gianfranco Fini, in January 1994, when he persuaded a handful of former Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC) conservatives to add a gloss of relative moderation to the MSI. Fini then allied the neofascists with Silvio Berlusconi during the March 1994 electoral campaign. The MSI-AN obtained 13.5 percent of the vote—by far the best postwar performance of the Italian far right. In Rome, and other parts of southern Italy, the MSI-AN’s share of the vote reached 25 percent. The MSI-AN subsequently took a prominent part in Berlusconi’s government, a fact that drew intense criticism from French statesmen such as Jacques Delors and Francois Mitterrand. In January 1995, following the collapse of Berlusconi’s administration, the MSI officially renamed itself the AN. The party also abandoned—in theory, at any rate—its attachment to the corporatist economic principles traditionally espoused by fascism, and embraced the rhetoric of free market reforms and a smaller state. Fini additionally reassessed and criticized the MSI’s historical legacy, in particular its long-standing defense of Mussolini’s Salo republic. Stung by this rethinking (but not rejection) of the party’s fascist past, a handful of extremists, led by Giuseppe “Pino” Rauti, left to form an openly fascist movement. Since 1995, Fini has intensified this process of self-criticism by visiting Israel and by openly condemning the 1938 racial laws against Italy’s Jews.
   Since the late 1990s, the AN has been a sometimes frustrated junior partner in the Casa delle Liberta/House of Freedoms (CDL), Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition. Fini himself has emerged as one of the politicians most trusted by the Italian public. The AN roughly maintained its share of the vote in the elections of 1996, 2001, and 2006, consistently obtaining around 12 percent of the vote, but it has not, as many expected, overtaken Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to become the largest right-wing party in Italy. Fini’s unarguable skills as a political communicator cannot wholly disguise the party’s somewhat unsavory origins.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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