The Partito Popolare Italiano, also known as the Popolari, was a short-lived Italian political party, based on Christian Socialist principles, which existed during the early twentieth century[[#_ftn1|[1]](1).

Organized in 1919, the formation of the party “marked the entrance of Roman Catholics, alienated since the government’s seizure of papal lands in 1860-70, into Italian political life as an organized force”[[#_ftn2|[2]](2). The Popolari endorsed a number of social reforms in their political agenda. These reforms included: the recognition of workers’ right to organize, election of the Senate, local administrative autonomy, suffrage for women, and a general reformation of the Italian agricultural system[[#_ftn3|[3]](3). After the elections of 1919, the party held more than one hundred seats in Parliament, making it the second largest party in the Chamber of Deputies. Despite the party’s original success, the early 1920s saw a breakdown of internal unity, critically weakening the party[[#_ftn4|[4]](4). Eventually, this lack of unity, combined with an unwillingness to cooperate with other political groups, led to the party’s complete dissolution by the Fascist suppression of parliamentary government[[#_ftn5|[5]](5).

The Popolari were one of the leading oppositional forces to Benito Mussolini’s plan to take over the Italian Parliament. When Mussolini, in an attempt to cripple Parliament, tried to get the Chamber of Deputies to agree to an electoral reform, which would have guaranteed the Fascist Party two-thirds of all votes cast in future elections, the Popolari were a leading force against the measure[[#_ftn6|[6]](6). This put the party at odds with the Fascists, creating sufficient reason for the fascist-sympathizing Pope Pius XI to issue a decree, which ordered all catholic priests to resign from the Popolari and all of the political posts that the priests had held; this decree helped to spell out the end for the Partito Popolare Italiano[[#_ftn7|[7]](7).


[[#_ftnref1|[1]](1) “Popolare.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition. 23 Sept. 2009 <http://school.eb.com>
[[#_ftnref2|[2]](2) Ibid.
[[#_ftnref3|[3]](3) Ibid.
[[#_ftnref4|[4]](4) Ibid.
[[#_ftnref5|[5]](5) Ibid.
[[#_ftnref6|[6]](6) Manhattan, Avro. "Chapter Nine: Italy, the Vatican, and Fascism." The Vatican in
World Politics. N.p.: Gaer Associations, 1949. N. pag. Cephas Library. Web.
23 Sept. 2009. <http://www.cephas-library.com/catholic/
catholic_vatican_in_world_politics_chpt_9.html>.
[[#_ftnref7|[7]](7) Ibid.