Italy Labor and Struggles of Democracy Part 3

Italy Labor and Struggles of Democracy 3

At the end of 1958, the Prime Minister had subordinated the future of his government to three congressional deadlines: the national meetings of the PLI, the PRI and the PSI. But the national congress of the PLI (in December in Rome) confirmed the previous line of opposition. The republican congress (in November in Florence) deepened the detachment of the PRI from any direct or indirect responsibility of government. As for the socialist congress in Naples (January 1959), its reflections were fatal for the Fanfani cabinet. Not only did the socialists deny the slightest opening of credit to the government, but they favored in every way a policy of pressure on social democracy which resulted in the exit from the PSDI of the group headed by the Hon. Matteotti and strong of five deputies (including a minister in office, Vigorelli).

After the social democratic secession, the center-left government also lacked the numerical majority. On January 26, 1959, the Hon. Fanfani resigned from the government; but the crisis widened, on the 31st of the same month, with the sudden withdrawal of Fanfani himself from the party secretariat, motivated by bitter internal conflicts of the party, following which the same majority current split.

An attempt by the President of the Republic to induce the Hon. Fanfani to appear again in Parliament was not successful. A truce government was needed. To lead it was called one of the leaders of the DC who enjoyed greater prestige in the party and who had been vice president of the Council in the Fanfani cabinet, Antonio Segni.

The Segni government (which passed with a large majority in the Chamber and the Senate) was constituted by the DC alone and could count on the benevolent expectation of a part of the center (the liberals) and on the support of right-wing groups (the MSI and the monarchists, now reunited in a single party, the Italian Democratic Party). The Segni program did not differ too much from that of the Fanfani government. All the currents of the DC found adequate representation within it. The return of Pella to foreign countries sanctioned the reconfirmation of the Atlantic political line. A particular note of Italian-French friendship was brought by the visit of General De Gaulle to Italy (21-25 June 1959), on the occasion of the centenary of the glorious Franco-Sardinian battles of the Risorgimento. Alongside traditional Atlantic politics, the intention of giving

The internal crisis of the DC continued, however, and indeed worsened during the course of the year. After the party’s National Council had accepted Fanfani’s resignation from the secretariat (March 17, 1959), the battle of the Catholic left currents resumed. Fanfani himself returned to actively participate in the internal struggles of the party, in view of the national congress of the DC (held in Florence from 23 to 28 October 1959).

According to, the new secretary of the DC, Hon. A. Moro (who succeeded Fanfani at the end of March 1959), managed to achieve a narrow majority in the congress on the internal oppositions led by Fanfani; and this thanks to the help of the current “Primavera” organized and led by the Hon. Andreotti and the “popular centrist” group which was headed by Hon. Scelba. But it was an unsafe and not a definitive victory. The gradual wearing down of the “single-color Segni” favored the resumption of contrasts for a definitive choice of the DC between politics and center-right or center-left alliances. When the National Council of the Liberal Party decided to withdraw parliamentary support from the Segni cabinet (February 21, 1960), the structure of the ministry was already considerably weakened, its vigor attenuated. With the fall of the Segni cabinet, one of the most difficult and tormented crises of the post-war period began: crisis resolved, after various unfortunate attempts (assignment to Segni, Tambroni single-color government, Fanfani experiment for the center-left), with the referral to the Cabinet Chambers Tambroni with a purely administrative program. The legislature born on May 25, 1958 was unable to resolve its problems. This was proved by the dramatic events of July 1960 following the congress of the Italian Social Movement which was to be held in Genoa. There were bloody demonstrations, as well as in Genoa, Rome and Reggio Emilia, with repercussions in Sicily. The Italian political struggle risked radicalization with serious consequences for the balance not only of Parliament but also of the country. The return to democratic solidarity appeared as the only refuge from more serious threats. With a high sense of responsibility, the secular democracy groups decided to make their votes converge on a single-color Christian Democratic government chaired by Amintore Fanfani, such as to offer – due to its composition and structure – all the necessary guarantees for the forces that they recognized in a common constitutional inspiration (outside the natural programmatic dissensions).

The return to democratic convergence marked by the Fanfani government was confirmed by the local elections held on November 6, 1960 (in 7844 municipalities, equal to 97.7% of the total). The Christian Democrats managed to substantially safeguard its positions: passing, in percentage, from 38.9% of the provincials of 1956 to 40.3 (with a decrease only on the policies of 1958, where it had reached 42.4). Social democracy, exposed to a particularly difficult test, recorded an improvement over the policies of 1958: from 4.7 to 5.7 per cent. Liberals also gained on previous policies, going from 3.4 to 4%. The positions of the Republicans remained stable, present only in a part of the constituencies: from 1.4% in 1958 to 1.3% today. On the right, the Italian Social Movement made an increase to the detriment of the monarchists, of the Italian Democratic Party (from 4.6% in 1958 to 5.9). On the left, the Italian Socialist Party managed with difficulty to maintain its positions (in the provinces, 14.4% compared to 14.7 in the policies of 1958; in the municipal ones, some slight advantages). The Communists, on the contrary, made progress (in percentage, and even if taking into account the lower number of voters compared to the political elections of 1958, 24.5% against 23% obtained two years earlier). The electoral results confirmed the need for Italian democracy to continue its battle: a battle that assumed a particular meaning and value at the dawn of 1961, the centenary year of the unification of Italy.

Italy Labor and Struggles of Democracy 3