Intra- and Inter-alliance Relations after the 2004 European and Provincial Elections

in Italian Politics
Author: Mark Donovan
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The European elections of 12 and 13 June 2004, and the simultaneous

partial local elections, were of great significance for Italy’s

national-level politics. For all that European and sub-national elections

are quite different from national ones, the European elections

were a nationwide test, of a sort, of the relative electoral appeal of the

government and opposition. More importantly, both levels of elections

had a powerful impact on the evolution of relations within the

House of Freedoms and between the opposition parties. Within the

government majority, the European elections saw Prime Minister Berlusconi’s

party, Forza Italia, weaken markedly, thus reinforcing the

aspirations of the prime minister’s most reluctant allies, the National

Alliance (AN) and the Union of Christian Democrats and Center Democrats

(UDC), to force a rewrite of the government program and, in

the most ambitious (and unstated) of hypotheses, to put an end to the

prime-ministerial aspect of Berlusconi’s government—perhaps even to

Berlusconi’s leadership itself.