South Tyrol Party Political Scene

The problems of ethnic groups in South Tyrol are also reflected in the party political scene. As a collective party the South Tyrolese People's Party (Südtiroler Volkspartei or SVP) has represented the overwhelming majority of German and Ladin-speaking South Tyrolese since 1948. Only in the 1980s and 1990s could German and Ladin- speaking opposition parties establish themselves. In the 1990s considerable changes occurred in the Italian party political scene; until then the great majority of Italians in South Tyrol voted for Italian parties represented at national level. As an inter-ethnic grouping the Neue Linke -Grünalternative Liste (New Left-Green Alternative List) was able to establish itself successfully in the mid-1970s.

According to the 1993 programme of the Party the South Tyrolese People's Party sees itself as a "collective" party for German and Ladin South Tyrolese of all social classes who as convinced and responsible democrats profess loyalty to Freedom People and Homeland; in its political orientation the SVP declares its belief in the christian- humanistic vision of mankind and society. The political objective of the Party is the preservation and development of the German and Ladin ethnic groups as well as to ensure that they remain the majority in their homeland. In the course of the years movements in the Party have emerged which "take into account the different ideas views and interests of the groups forming the democratic community". Founded in May 1945 the SVP has received a majority of the votes in all Assembly and parliamentary elections since then. In 1994 it had 76 896 registered members.

There have also been German-speaking opposition parties since 1948 and since 1964 these have been from time to time been represented in the South Tyrolese Assembly for example the Tiroler Heimatpartei (1964- 1968) the Soziale Fortschrittspartei (the Social Progressive Party) - SFP (founded in 1966) the Sozialdemokratische Partei Südtirols (the South Tyrolese Social Democratic Party) - SPS (founded in 1972) the Wahlverband der Unabhängigen (the Electoral Association of Independents) - WDU (1983-1988) and the Freiheitliche Partei Südtirols (the South Tyrolese Freedom Party) - FPS (1988-1993). In the present South Tyrolese Assembly the "Union Für Südtirol" and the Freedom Party each have two representatives. The "Union für Südtirol" emerged from the Südtiroler Heimatbund" founded in 1974 as an association of former political prisoners. It stands primarily for self- determination for South Tyrol and rejects the Package Agreement. The Freedom Party sees itself as a liberal party which stands particularly for freedom and protection of civil rights. In the 1990s more new political parties and movements came into existence. With the "Ladins" in the provincial elections of 1993 an exclusively Ladin list captured for the first time a seat in the South Tyrolese Assembly.

More complex is the party political spectrum on the Italian side. With the change in the Communist Party (PCI/KPI) with the rise of the "Lega Nord" (Northern League) and the "Forza Italia" movement and with the transformation of the neo-fascist party MSI into the Alleanza Nazionale and the Christian Democratic Party (DC) into the Partito Popolare (PPI) the lesser Italian parties (PSI PRI PLI PSDI etc.) have been pushed to the edge. In the 1988 provincial elections the MSI (today the Alleanza Nazionale) became the strongest Italian party in the Province with four seats in the Assembly. The aim of this right-wing party is to change the Autonomy Statute; in particular it is against the required bilingualism and ethnic proportions in public employment. The two representatives of the PPI (Italian People's Party) form together with the single representative of the PDS and with the SVP the South Tyrolese provincial government. Both the PPI (formerly DC) and the PDS which emerged in February 1991 out of the PCI/KPI support the autonomy. In the 1993 provincial elections the "Lega Nord" and the "Unione de Centro dell' Alto Adige" found their feet with one deputy each.

The Green-Alternative List group (Gruppo verde alternativo) sees itself as an inter-ethnic movement which is represented by two deputies in the South Tyrolese Assembly calls for the abolition of ethnic barriers and certain provisions in the Autonomy Statute (such as ethnic proportions) as well as for improved protection of the countryside and the environment.

Finally at municipal elections citizens action groups and citizens and local lists have campaigned.

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