Courtesy Reuters

Italy: The Crisis of Governing

Ten years ago, in August 1960, the Socialist Party abstained in the vote of confidence for the third Fanfani cabinet, thus giving the first and irreversible indication that a new period was beginning in the brief history of the Italian Republic. The era of "quadripartito" coalitions, running from the Christian Democrats to the Liberals, and including the Republicans and Social Democrats, was over. The "opening to the Left" was on. Although the first Center-Left government, led by Aldo Moro and including the Nenni Socialists, the Republicans and Social Democrats, would not come into being until December 1963, it can be fairly said that the sixties, in Italy, belonged to that political constellation. At the end of the decade, during the critical summer of 1970, people wondered whether a new turning point had arrived. Had the Center-Left already exhausted its historical task? If so, what would come afterwards-the "opening to the Communists," or, on the contrary, a turn to the Right? Or would, after all, the Center-Left coalition be able to survive and even gather new strength?

Certainly, since the elections in May 1968, the Center-Left has been going through a serious crisis. But it is a question whether the crisis is mainly political or goes deeper and involves the whole social and economic fabric of Italian life. What did it mean that, while politicians debated in Rome the pros and cons of a new coalition, people were furiously rooting for days and days in Reggio Calabria, on the tip of Italy's boot, formally protesting against the threat to reject their town as capital of the new region of Calabria, but in reality complaining against all the "politicians" because of the backwardness of their province? As a foreign observer somewhat brutally said, "Italy was to be compared to a centaur, who, when ill, didn't know whether to call for a doctor or a veterinarian." Was this the illness of "European" Italy, sharing all the new diseases of progress and growth, or the ancient sickness of "the

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