Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e Democratici di Centro

Union of Christian Democrats and Democrats of the Center (UDC)
   The UDC is the third-largest party in the center-right Casa delle Liberta/House of Freedoms (CDL). Formed in December 2002, the party united within its ranks three political forces of Christian democratic principles and ideology: the Cristiani Democratici Uniti/Christian Democratic Union (CDU), whose leader was Rocco Buttiglione; the Centro Cristiano Democratico/Christian Democratic Center (CCD), whose chief figure was Pierferdinando Casini; and Democrazia Europea/European Democracy (DE), a political movement inspired by the Catholic trade unionist Sergio D’Antoni and supported by Giulio Andreotti. D’Antoni left the party within two years, however, to join Romano Prodi in the opposite center-left coalition. The new party’s leader was a well-known Catholic intellectual called Marco Follini; Buttiglione was party president. Follini’s relationship with Silvio Berlusconi and with other members of Berlusconi’s government such as the Lega Nord/Northern League (LN) was very tense. Follini frequently attacked the government, especially over the LN’s plans to revise the Constitution. Follini eventually joined the government as deputy prime minister in December 2004, but lasted in the job only until April 2005. He also resigned from the party secretaryship in October 2005, being replaced by Lorenzo Cesa.
   Despite these dissensions within the party and with its allies, the UDC has consolidated its political presence since 2002. In April 2006 the party, which boasts the distinctive shield and cross emblem of the former Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy party (DC), took almost 2.6 million votes in elections for the Chamber of Deputies (39 seats) and 2.3 million in the Senate elections (21 seats), nearly double the number of the CCD and CDU combined in 2001. In both chambers, the UDC took almost 7 percent of the vote. Many of the UDC’s votes came from disillusioned supporters of Forza Italia, but it is also clear that the party retained many of the votes cast for D’Antoni’s DE in the previous 2001 elections. The UDC is helped by the leadership of Casini, who is one of the most charismatic, and one of the few young, leaders in Italian politics today.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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