The De Gasperi Governments in Italy Part 3

Thanks to successive democratic coalition governments, the dismantling of the legacies of the peace treaty had been carried out with a lively spirit of fidelity to the West. The Italian-French conference in Santa Margherita Ligure was in February 1951 (basis for the complete normalization of relations between Rome and Paris); in April of the same year, the signing of the Schumann plan for the ECSC; in May the visit to London of De Gasperi and Sforza; Adenauer’s trip to Rome in June.

To complete the picture of Italy’s international commitments, was added, in February 1952, the signing in Lisbon of the treaty establishing the “European Defense Community”, which represented in Italy a solid point of reference and understanding of the nascent coalition between democratic parties. Another step forward on the road to liquidating any war legacy was marked, in May of the same year, by the tripartite agreement (Italy, USA, Great Britain) for the entry of Italian officials into the administration of zone A of the free territory of Trieste, the decisive premise for the not distant return of the Julian city to the bosom of the mother country.

When, in the last months of 1952, the agreement between the DC and the secular democracy parties for the approval of a majority electoral law was outlined, the foundations for a common orientation on the destinies of Italian democracy were already laid, both with regard to politics international and domestic. The social unrest – still so bitter between 1980 and 1951 – tended to subside; symptoms of relaxation even surfaced in the internal reflexes of the Cold War. The effects of the first major social reforms of the De Gasperi governments were beginning to be felt. Democratic forces were preparing to reap the benefits of five years of constructive progress: but the obstacles – which soon loomed on the horizon – will surpass all predictions.

Already the agreement on the new electoral law was not very easy. Outlined in the summer of 1952, it was in fact ratified by the various parties concerned only at the end of the year (and not without bitter internal conflicts, and principles of laceration, within the groups of secular democracy). The vigor of the opposition was accentuated while the dissensions on the modalities of the electoral law seemed to deepen, such as for example. on the size of the “majority bonus” (assignment to the list that had obtained the majority of two thirds, or three fifths, etc. of the parliamentary seats) or on the size of the majority itself necessary to compete for the prize: if absolute (0 51 or 50 + 1% of valid votes) or relative (45%, etc.). To the violent opposition of the far left was now added a growing opposition of the

When the bill bearing the name of the Interior Minister Scelba was presented to the House in early December 1952, every resource of parliamentary obstruction was put in place by the opposition with a view to delaying its approval. The same phenomenon was repeated, aggravated, in the Senate, where the law arrived on January 27, 1953 and where its examination was extended until March 29: through a convulsive and dramatic series of incidents that culminated in the attack on the bench by President M. Ruini, who succeeded President G. Paratore a few days ago.

Both the PSI and the PCI did not participate in the final votes on the law (January 21, 1953 in the Chamber with 335 “yes” and 25 “no”; the river session of March 26-29 in the Senate with 174 votes in favor and 3 abstentions). The electoral battle was fought with no holds barred. The particular reservations raised by the measure of the bonus – fixed at 65% of the seats on the list or group of lists that achieved an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes – favored the campaign of both oppositions. Not even sectors of the democratic and bourgeois world remained extraneous to the struggle against the new law (defined by the communists as the “fraud law”). A secession of particular political and psychological consequences will take place on the left of the PSDI.

According to USPRIVATESCHOOLSFINDER.COM, the refusal of socialists and communists to adopt a “popular front” type of battle formula facilitated their electoral strengthening. On the opposite sector of the political alignment, the National Monarchist Party conducted a vehement electoral campaign, which did not fail to steal votes from the DC, particularly in the South, where even the De Gasperi governments, with the agrarian reform and the Cassa del Mezzogiorno, had lavished the maximum of their reform effort.

Thus it happened that the group of allied parties of the democratic center did not reach the 50 + 1% of the votes necessary to trigger the mechanism of the electoral law that would have awarded the majority prize in the elections of 7 June. The DC significantly improved its positions compared to the administrative ones of 1951-52, passing from 36.2 to 40.1% of the votes; but the forces of secular democracy had to register considerable losses, a consequence of the bitter campaign to which they had been subjected by the two Extremes and by the smaller “disturbance lists”. The PSDI passed in percentage from 8.6% in 1948 (and from 7.7 in the two rounds of 1951-52) to 4.5 in the elections for the Chamber; the PRI from 3 in 1948 (and from 2.5 in 1951-52) at 1.6%; the liberals (which however in 1948 included the “Everyman”) from 3.3 (and 3, 9 in administrative) to 3%. The monarchists of the PNM passed, compared to 1948, from 3.8 to 6.9%. The MSI, which was just born in 1948, registered a slight decline compared to the administrative ones (6.3) but still maintained a strength equal to 5.8% of the votes.

From 32.1% of the “People’s Bloc” in 1948, socialists and communists passed to 35.4% divided as follows: 22.6 to the PCI, 12.8 to the PSI. In addition, to make the situation more equivocal, the existence of over a million disputed ballots.

The picture of the new Parliament, after the elections, was certainly not the most comforting. With the right and left opposition swelled, the four parties of the democratic center retained a narrow majority in the Chamber (in the absence of the majority law, the seats in the Chamber had been divided according to the proportional system in force for the previous elections); but the controversies and discussions arising from the serious disappointment of June 7 did not allow the immediate resumption of an interview.

The De Gasperi Governments in Italy 3