The Republic of Italy (since 1946) 1

With 12.7 million against 10.7 million votes, the population decided on June 2, 1946 to establish the republic. Umberto II, king since the abdication of his father (May 9, 1946), left Italy on June 13, 1946. Prime Minister A. De Gasperi (DC, since December 1945) took over the regent’s business until the Supreme Court on 18 June 1946 proclaimed the republic. The constituent national assembly elected on June 2, 1946 elected the liberal Enrico De Nicola (* 1877, † 1959) as provisional president. After the adoption of a parliamentary-democratic constitution (in force since January 1, 1948), L. Einaudi (1948–55), G. Gronchi (1955–62), A. Segni (1962-64), G. Saragat (1964-71), G. Leone (1971-78), A. Pertini (1978-85), F. Cossiga(1985-92), O. Scalfaro (1992 –99) and C. A. Ciampi (since 1999) at the head of the state. The strongest political force until the beginning of the 1990s was the DC; it ruled with an absolute majority from 1948 to 1953 and was the prime minister until 1981. Other influential parties were the Socialists (PSI) under P. Nenni, the Communists (PCI) under P. Togliatti who, however, remained excluded from national government responsibility in the context of the East-West conflict since 1948, as well as the Republicans (Partito Repubblicano Italiano, PRI). The Liberals (Partito Liberale Italiano, PLI) also played a role in coalition politics. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Zipcodesexplorer.

With the help of the Marshall Plan, the De Gasperi government (1945–53) began to rebuild the economy. A social and agrarian reform was started, but not carried out with the necessary consistency, so that some basic problems, especially in southern Italy, persist to the present. After losing the absolute majority (1953), the DC initially formed coalition governments of the »center right« (»Centro destra«) v. a. with the Liberals, namely under Prime Minister Giuseppe Pella (* 1902, † 1981;1953/54), Mario Scelba (* 1901, † 1991; 1954/55) and A. Segni (1955-57, 1959/60). From 1960, also under the influence of the reorientation of the Catholic Church by the 2nd Vatican Council, the “opening to the left” (“Apertura a sinistra”) began in the DC: A. Fanfani was the first to head a coalition government that included non-communist left-wing parties. The center-left governments under A. Moro (1963–68) and Mariano Rumor (* 1915, † 1990; 1968–70) tried to achieve domestic political stability, not least in the light of the 68 movement in Italy, which was sometimes very violent. In the early 1970s, however, inflation, stagnation and unemployment after the previous Italian economic miracle led to political polarization and rapidly changing governments. Under Prime Minister G. Andreotti (1976–79), a broad government alliance, with the parliamentary toleration of the communists led by E. Berlinguer (historical compromise), was supposed to calm the country whose internal security was threatened by right-wing and left-wing terrorist attacks (including the 1978 murder of Moro by the Red Brigades; 1980 Right-wing extremist attack on Bologna train station in 1980). After the alliance broke, new elections did not result in any significant shifts in power (coalition governments under Cossiga and A. Forlani).

At the beginning of the 1980s, the political and institutional crisis intensified. Above all, the involvement of leading figures in public life in scandals and criminal offenses (such as the Freemason Lodge “P 2”, the focus of which was the bankruptcy of the Vatican-controlled Banco Ambrosiano) shook the reputation of the state. In 1981 the DC lost the office of head of government for the first time (G. Spadolini, PRI, 1981/82; B. Craxi, PSI, 1983-87). Meanwhile, the welfare state has now been immensely expanded and differentiated; as a result, national debt rose – under Craxi it was twice the rate of increase in gross national income.

In the 1987 elections, the traditional parties were able to assert themselves again, the DC again became the strongest force with a third of the votes, but the minister-presidents and their cabinets changed several times in the coalition government (April to June 1987: Fanfani; July 1987 to March 1988: Giovanni Goria [* 1943, † 1994]; April 1988 to May 1989: C. De Mita; July 1989 to June 1992: Andreotti). The government’s austerity programs in view of the growing national debt and European policy requirements led to political conflicts between the government and the opposition and the strong trade unions, but also between the government partners. There were strikes and mass demonstrations. The internal security of the country was now increasingly threatened by the growing penetration of society by organized crime, especially by the mafia, which, however, had come under greater pressure of persecution towards the end of the 1980s.

Domestic political developments since the 1990s: The murder of judicial officers charged with fighting the Mafia (according to the judge Giovanni Falcone, * 1939, killed in 1992), the opaque interweaving of party systems and state institutions as well as state enterprises, the entanglement of the parties (especially the DC and the PSI) in corruption processes, on top of that the accusation of the cooperation of some party politicians with organized crime, finally the unsolved financial problems, especially since the social systems were solved in 1991/92 severe crisis of the political system. First of all, the two-time voter vote (referendum on the right to vote; chamber elections) against the established parties and their attempt to cope with the crisis and accusations with legalistic tricks was decisive.

The Republic of Italy (since 1946) 1