Forza Italia after Ten Years

in Italian Politics
Author: Jonathan Hopkin
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For Silvio Berlusconi, the year 2004 began with ostentatious celebrations

of the tenth anniversary of Forza Italia’s extraordinary first election

victory, which came only a few weeks after Berlusconi officially

“took the field” (scese in campo) to stand for election to the Chamber

of Deputies. Forza Italia’s survival as one of Italy’s leading political

forces a decade later is testimony to the staying power of what seemed

at the time as a hasty improvisation, which many political commentators

were initially reluctant to take seriously. For much of the past 10

years, Forza Italia (FI) has been the largest Italian party in terms of vote

share and parliamentary delegation, and Berlusconi has held the prime

minister’s office for almost half of that time. As a vehicle for obtaining

and keeping political power, fihas been extraordinarily successful.