Dissident Left

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The Pentarchy
La Pentarchia
Leaders Giuseppe Zanardelli,
Francesco Crispi,
Benedetto Cairoli,
Giovanni Nicotera,
Alfredo Baccarini
Founded 1877 (1877)
Dissolved 1887 (1887)
Split from Historical Left
Merged into Historical Left
Headquarters Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome
Ideology Progressivism
Social liberalism
Political position Left-wing

The Dissident left-wing (Italian: Sinistra dissidente), commonly named The Pentarchy (Italian: La Pentarchia) like its five leaders, was a progressive and radical parliamentary group active in Italy during the last decades of the 19th century.[1]


It emerged in 1880 from the left-wing of the two dominant parliamentary groups, the Historical Left, in opposition to the Trasformismo of Agostino Depretis. In the 1880 general election the party won 19.7% of the vote and 119 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.[2]

The Pentarchy was a group formed led by Francesco Crispi and composed also by Giuseppe Zanardelli, Benedetto Cairoli, Giovanni Nicotera, Agostino Magliani, Alfredo Beccarini and Gabriele D'Annunzio. Initially split from the Left in 1880, this group re-merged in to the Left in 1887.[3]


The Dissident left-wing supported authoritarian and progressive internal policies, expansionism and Germanophile foreign policies, and protectionist economy policies. Most of these policies were to be implemented by Francesco Crispi, when he became Prime Minister in the 1890s.[4]

Electoral results

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1880 70,479 (#3) 19.7
119 / 508
Giuseppe Zanardelli
1882 unknown (#4) 3.7
19 / 508
Decrease 100
Giuseppe Zanardelli
1886 uninown (#4) 5.1
26 / 508
Increase 7
Giuseppe Zanardelli


  1. ^ Giuseppe Zanardelli – Biografia
  2. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  3. ^ Storia d'Italia dal 1861 al 1897
  4. ^ La politica di Crispi
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