Italy Between the 1960’s and 1970’s Part 11
After a tense and dramatic electoral campaign, characterized by a resumption in the DC of traditional anti-communist accents, which helped to polarize the attention of the electorate on the two major parties (political violence, meanwhile, reached its peak a few days before the elections with the assassination of the attorney general of Genoa), the response of the polls marked a clear defeat of all the intermediate political forces (with the exception of the substantial holding of the PRI, which in some senatorial colleges had also presented itself united, in a secular alliance, with PLI and PSDI) and disappointed those who had aimed at a downsizing of the Christian Democrats. These are the results in percentage of votes and seats obtained: Chamber, DC, 38.7%, 263 (−4); PCI, 34.4%, 227 (+48); PSI, 9.6%, 57 (−4); PCI-PSI-PDU, 0.1%, 1; PSDI, 3.4%, 15 (−14); PRI, 3.1%, 14 (−1); PLI, 1.3%, 5 (−15); MSI-DN, 6.1%, 35 (−21); SVP, 0.5%, 3 (-); DP, 1.5%, 6; PR, 1.1%, 4. Senate: DC, 38.9%, 135 (-); PCI, 33.8%, 116 (+22); PSI, 10.2%, 29 (−4); PCI-PSI, 0.2%, 1; PSDI, 3.1%, 6 (−5); PRI, 2.7%, 6 (+1); PLI, 1.4%, 2 (−6); PLI-PRI-PSDI, 1.1%, 2; MSI-DN, 6.6%, 15 (−11); DC-PRI-UV, 0.1%, 1 (-); SVP, 0.5%, 2 (-).
With a parliament in which there was no longer even numerically any possibility of forming center-right majorities, the new legislature opened with a political event full of significance for the future of the country. In fact, at the beginning of July, all six parties of the “constitutional arc” returned to sit around the same table after thirty years, to agree on the division of parliamentary offices. Thus the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies went to a communist, P. Ingrao, while that of the Senate was reserved for the DC, which appointed A. Fanfani there. The repercussions of the electoral results on the PSI were very serious: all the forecasts and hopes of the previous months had turned out to be wrong, the result of a insufficient in-depth analysis of the needs and composition of Italian society in recent years. During the central committee in mid-July, the old Demartinian majority fell apart, causing a confused reshuffling of the currents that led to the secretariat B. Craxi, the most faithful of Fr. Nenni, supported by the left and by the group of G. Mancini.
According to Usaers, the bipolar tendency of the Parliament which came out on June 20 made it extremely difficult to form a government with a pre-established majority, all the more so after a pre-electoral debate characterized by frontal opposition between the two major parties. On July 13, the President of the Republic entrusted the task of creating a new ministry to G. Andreotti, who within two weeks created a cabinet of Christian Democrats only, without a parliamentary majority and whose survival was entrusted to the abstentions, at the moment of the vote of confidence, of all the parties of the constitutional arch. For the first time, therefore, since 1947, the PCI, albeit through this provisional formula, was called upon to support a government and to assume a decisive role in the implementation of its program. On 6 August in the Senate and 11 in the Chamber, the monocolore Andreotti obtained the consent of Parliament on his government proposals with the yes of the Christian Democrats, the abstention of PCI, PSI, PRI, PSDI, PLI and the vote against only missini, radicals and demoproletari. An anomalous and extremely weak situation, which nevertheless made it possible to postpone the dissolution of the fundamental problem that weighed on Italian politics after 20 June, that of the relationship between the DC and the PCI. The government, in an attempt to face a dramatic inflationary process and prevent the collapse of the lira against other currencies, called the country to new sacrifices, such as to reduce private consumption, allow a revival of investments, lower the excessive level of public expenditure (the main aim was affect the cost of labor, mitigating the inflationary effects of the contingency allowance, but the resistance on this point by the unions was very hard). Subsequently, the political struggle in Italy was characterized by the gradual approach of the PCI in the area of government and by the correlative dynamism of extra-parliamentary groups (movement of the “autonomous”), which challenged the fundamental institutions of the trade union and political left: so much so that there is talk of the emergence of a second “society”, made up of marginalized elements extraneous to the political culture deriving from the tradition of workers’ struggles. The intermediate parties, and especially the republicans, they continued to play an essential role in the parliamentary framework and to have a decisive influence on the affairs of the governing coalition. On January 16, 1978, the transition to the opposition of the groups that had hitherto supported the Christian Democrat monocolor with abstention was now clearly outlined, the resignation of G. Andreotti opened a difficult government crisis, essentially motivated by the need for a more vigorous action to address economic problems. After rapid consultations, President Leone entrusted the re-office to Andreotti himself, once again committed to building a stronger convergence of political forces on the basis of the constitutional framework and the agreement reached in July 1976. Then the crisis was resolved with an agreement between five parties (this time the liberals preferred to switch to the opposition): unlike the previous one, based on abstention, the fourth Andreotti government, also justified with the emergency situation in the country went to Parliament with a very large majority on March 16, the day of the kidnapping of A. Moro (v.): the Christian Democrats, the Communists, the Socialists, the social democrats, republicans, and even demonationals. On 15 June G. Leone (v.) Resigned; Sandro Pertini (see alsoItalian political parties).