A political movement formed in 1994 by Silvio Berlusconi. Founded in the wake of the collapse of the traditional Italian party system, notably the Christian Democrats, it sought to create a strong political force on the centre right. Intensely un‐ideological, the movement has been largely a vehicle to promote the political ambitions of its founder. In elections later that year, the ‘Pole of Freedom’ coalition, spearheaded by Forza Italia, won, and Berlusconi formed his first government. Berlusconi was unable, however, to form a stable government, not least because Forza Italia's position vis‐à‐vis its coalition partners was relatively weak. Berlusconi used his subsequent years in opposition to strengthen his movement. In the 2001 elections Forza Italia obtained 29.5 per cent of the vote, while its right‐wing alliance, the House of Liberties, won a total of 49.6 per cent. Despite concerns about its political value system, Forza Italia was accepted into the European People's Party, the union of centre‐right parties represented in the European Parliament. The House of Liberties narrowly lost the 2006 elections, when it polled 25,000 votes less than the Olive Tree coalition.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).