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Radical Party, Italy

Radicali/Partito Radicale

Last modified: 2021-08-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: radical party | radicali | partito radicale |
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image by M. Schmöger, 5 August 2002

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image by M. Schmöger, 5 August 2002

"Radicali Italiani" (Italian Radicals, a.k.a. "Partito Radicale" or "Lista Emma Bonino" or "Lista Pannella" The "Partito Radicale" has been founded in 1955 as a fission of the left wing of the "Partito Liberale Italiano" (5.2.1.); one of the founders was Marco Pannella (now leader of the party together with Emma Bonino). The party has been and is mainly a radical-liberal and anticlerical party. First elected to the Italian parliament in 1976 (4 deputies including Marco Pannella and Emma Bonino), the "Partito Radicale" could repeat small electoral successes in the following parliamentary elections as well. At least to the world outside Italy the "Partito Radicale" became to be known, as porn star Ilona "Cicciolina" Staller was elected to the parliament in 1987 on the ticket of this party. Largely unnoticed went the election (in 1983 and 1987) of Francesco Rutelli, later (as member of the "Verdi") mayor of Rome, and now leader of the new centrist party "Margherita". In elections the "Radicali" either have presented their own lists under different names ("Lista Emma Bonino" or "Lista Pannella" after the two most prominent figures of the party) or have (at least) locally joined other parties for a common list (especially the PSI and PSDI or radical-left parties as the "Democrazia Proletaria"). This also suggests that the "Radicali" are a more left party; therefore it was a kind of surprise, when the "Lista Pannella" allied itself with Berlusconi's center-right coalition for the 1996 elections. After surprisingly successful elections to the European Parliament in 1999 (8,5% of the votes) they presented their own list for the Italian parliamentary elections in 2001 as well, but failed to win a seat with only 2% of the votes. However, the main forum of the "Partito Radicale" has never been the parliament; they focused on spectacular actions involving hunger-strike and thirst-strike, all forms of non-violent demonstrations and civil disobedience. The "Partito Radicale" used with quite some success the referendum as a political tool (for instance for the right to divorce; against criminalization of abortion etc). Since 1985, the "Radicali" attracted likeminded groups all over the world and founded the "Transnational Radical Party", that is, however, largely dominated by its Italian branch.

As symbols the "Radicali" use temporary logos for their election lists, for instance the logo of the "Lista Marco Pannella-Emma Bonino at However, the symbol of the "Transnational Radical Party" seems to be a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi made up of the writing "Radical Party" in many (claimed to be over 50) different languages (identification with some caution: Italian, English, Russian, Spanish, French, Arabian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Esperanto, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Turkish, and at least one unidentified language). The portrait of Gandhi presumably symbolizes the pacifist programmatics of the party and the use of classical methods of civil disobedience in the political struggle. See this logo at This logo is also used on flags, either black on white or gold on blue. On the flags the URL of the website "WWW.RADICALPARTY.ORG" is written beneath the portrait of Gandhi.
See photos of the flag at'Amico.jpg, A.Biondi.jpg and other places in this site as well at, MVC-333X.jpg, MVC-337X.jpg MVC-340X.jpg and many other photos in this site.
M. Schmöger, 7 August 2002

image by M. Schmöger, 5 August 2002

The original PR transformed itself in 1989 into the Partito Radicale Nonviolento, Transnazionale e Transpartito (NRPTT/TRP/Transnational Radical Party). This is using the well-known flag (in several versions) with the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi made up of the writing "Radical Party" in many languages.

For the respective elections, it has presented lists under the name Lista Pannella or Lista Bonino or Lista Bonino Pannella. These lists had their own electoral symbols, that were also shown on (usually) white flags.

In addition, however, there was the foundation in 2001 of the Radicali Italiani. They are currently using a yellow flag with the black party name and URL; in the upper hoist corner a combination of a red rose with a black "R" drawn like the "@" symbol [1,2,3].

There are also a number of specialized organizations affiliated to the Radicals, called the "galassia radicale" (Radical Galaxy). Several of them, but as far as I can see, not all, are using their own flags as well.

Flag usage in the "Radical Galaxy" is even more complex, as they are frequently using a couple of (more or less) national flags as well, for showing support to the respective peoples. This includes Tibet, Sinkiang, Chechnya, South Vietnam, Laos (royal), Kosovo.

[1] flag no. 163 in Italian political flags collection Schmöger, received 2010 from party headquarters, Roma

Marcus Schmöger, 25 April 2013