Against the background of the end of the Cold War, all of this led to a change in the party system. New political forces spoke up, such as the anti-centralist one that emerged regionally in the 1980s Lega Nord under U. Bossi; on the right, the neo-fascists (Movimento Sociale Italiano, MSI) reorganized themselves under G. Fini in order to break through their previous political isolation. The PCI had already changed name and program in February 1991 (Partito Democratico della Sinistra, PDS; since 1998 Democratici di Sinistra, DS). Here, as in the later start-ups, especially from the DC and from the MSI, the party reformers did not succeed in taking the entire membership with them. In addition to the PDS, the Rifondazione Comunista joined with around a third of the former PCI members.
After Cossiga’s premature resignation (April 28, 1992), who had deliberately exacerbated the legitimation crisis of the previous party system since taking office, both houses of parliament elected Scalfaro on May 25, 1992 as president. As a first step towards a renewal of political life, Prime Minister G. Amato (PSI; June 1992 to April 1993) implemented an electoral reform that was supposed to secure stable majorities; it was approved by the population in a referendum in April 1993 with 83% of the vote (entered into force on December 18, 1993). Amato However, it soon failed due to a controversial amnesty law (corrupting party donations as a mere administrative offense). While the investigations into leading politicians and well-known managers continued, C. A. Ciampi (independent, previously head of the Banca d’Italia) took over the government at the head of an emergency cabinet. In addition to the reduction of national debt and the constitutional reform, the fight against the Mafia was in the foreground. Now the DC also disbanded (January 1994); the re-establishment as Partito Popolare Italiano (PPI) failed insofar as previously integrated groups founded competing Christian Democratic parties.
In the new elections in March 1994, a strongly changed field of political forces emerged. The winner was the right-wing party alliance »Polo della Libertà« (German Pol der Freiheit) from the newly founded Forza Italia (FI), which was able to occupy the legacy of the DC, the Lega Nord and the Alleanza Nazionale (AN) G. Finis. Prime Minister was S. Berlusconi, founder and chairman of the FI and influential entrepreneur v. a. in the field of media. It failed at the end of 1994 after he was also suspected of bribery and the Lega Nord therefore left the government alliance. The previous Minister of the Treasury, L. Dini, formed another interim government of experts in January 1995.
The alliance of left-wing parties “L’Ulivo” emerged victorious from the new elections in April 1996. A left-wing coalition took over the government for the first time, and R. Prodi (formerly DC, then PPI) became Prime Minister. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Topb2bwebsites.
By correcting the spending and tax policy, with the participation of Ciampi as Minister of Economics, he tried to reorganize the state budget, v. a. to meet the euro criteria. In October 1998 Prodi (afterwards President of the European Commission 1999–2004) failed with the 1999 budget law. A new government was formed under M. D’Alema, General Secretary of the PDS, which in 2000 became a cabinet of the non-party Amato followed, both supported by the same coalition, now expanded somewhat towards the political center. A fundamental constitutional reform was planned, which should have taken into account the structural deficits of the democratic-parliamentary system as well as the collapse of the old party system and the partial decentralization of state power in favor of regions, which was also projected at the European level. The left-wing government failed because of this in 1998/99. It was successful with an austerity course that was rigorous by Italian standards, insofar as, contrary to expectations, the criteria for joining the European common currency could be met. The reductions in the welfare state that were necessary to consolidate public finances largely failed to materialize.
In elections in May 2001, the center-right alliance, renewed under the changed name “Casa delle Libertà”, received a majority in both chambers, whereby the FI was able to benefit from the losses of the AN and the Lega Nord. Berlusconi, again leader of the alliance, formed Italy’s 59th post-war government as Prime Minister in June 2001. Despite several coalition crises, it was able to assert itself uninterruptedly longer than any other post-war Italian government. After another coalition crisis, Berlusconi resigned back in April 2005, but immediately formed the 60th post-war government, continuing the coalition and reshuffling the cabinet. With its majority in parliament, the coalition government – inter alia. also against the warnings of President Ciampi , who has been in office since 1999 – a number of controversial laws v. a. for law enforcement (e.g. the Immunity Act, which was intended to protect the holders of the highest government offices from criminal prosecution). Prime Minister Berlusconi was then accused of trying to prevent ongoing proceedings against him. The immunity law was declared unconstitutional by the Italian Constitutional Court in January 2004. Of the many projects of the electoral alliance in 2001, only a few could be implemented (e.g. pension reform).