06 February, 2009
Franco Marini is an Italian politician and a prominent member of the centre-left Democratic Party. From 2006 to 2008 he was President of the Italian Senate.
Marini was born in San Pio delle Camere, in the Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo).
A law graduate and trade unionist, Marini joined the Christian Democracy party in 1950 and was elected leader of the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (CISL) trade union in 1985. He left CISL in 1991 in order to become the Minister of Labour in the government of Giulio Andreotti.
A candidate in the 1992 election for Christian Democracy, he was to emerge as the most voted candidate in the country for what it was the leading Italian party at the time. In 1997 Marini was appointed leader of the Italian People's Party, heir of the disbanded Christian Democracy, but he left the position in 1999 because of the party's poor electoral performance in that year's European election. After the Italian People's Party became part of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy, he became the organizational secretary for the newly-founded party.
On April 29, 2006, after the centre-left Union victory in the general election, Franco Marini was appointed President of the Italian Senate after three votings, defeating Giulio Andreotti, candidate of the House of Freedoms and his former party fellow during the Christian Democracy times, by 165 votes to 156 and succeeding Marcello Pera.
On January 30, 2008, President Giorgio Napolitano summoned Marini to the Quirinale after having met with the different political parties following the vote of no confidence received by the Prodi II Cabinet and the political crisis it caused. He asked Marini to attempt to form an interim government, which would work to reform electoral laws prior to a new election. Marini decided that his task was impossible on February 4, after meeting with right-wing leaders Silvio Berlusconi and Gianfranco Fini, because he "could not find a significant majority on a precise electoral reform". Napolitano therefore dissolved Parliament and an early election was called for April 2008. Marini was re-elected to the Senate in this election.