In May 2001, for the first time in the history of united Italy and,
therefore, for the first time in the history of the Italian Republic,
alternation in government occurred as a direct consequence of an
electoral victory of the opposition. The incumbent centre left government
(the Ulivo – Olive Tree Coalition, led by Francesco
Rutelli) was defeated, and a centre right coalition (the Casa delle
Libertà, or CDL – House of Freedoms, led by Silvio Berlusconi)
began governing Italy with a large parliamentary majority.