Liberalism and radicalism in Italy
Liberalism and radicalism have played a role in the political history of Italy since the country's unification, started in 1861 and largely completed in 1871, and currently influence several leading political parties.
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During the first decades of Italy as a united country, the main parliamentary parties included liberals, but it was not until 1877 that the left-wing Radical Party was established as the first organized liberal party. The more centrist Liberal Union followed in 1913. Most liberal and radical parties were banned in 1926 under Benito Mussolini's Fascist government.
After World War II and the establishment of the Italian Republic there have been frequent changes in the configuration of political parties and, for the most part, the representation of liberal and radical views has been split among a number of parties that may also espouse other views. These parties have often been part of governing coalitions.
During the so-called "First Republic" three minor liberal parties were active: the Italian Liberal Party (centre-right), the Italian Republican Party (centre-left) and the modern-day Radical Party (left-wing). More recently, liberals have been split primarily among the centre-right The People of Freedom/Forza Italia and the centre-left Democratic Party.