WILL Italy remain a parliamentary democracy, based essentially on a coalition of parties, or will she become a one-party "Demo-Christian" régime of the Salazar type? This has become the main political question in Italy in the last few months.
So far the answer is clear. The great Christian Democratic Party is continuing to coöperate with the minor parties which are its present associates in the Government: this was shown at the national congress of the Party in Venice last spring and at the meeting of the National Council held in Fiuggi in July. It must be added, however, that this liberal and democratic orientation is the work of Premier De Gasperi and of his friends in the Government more than it is a reflection of the spontaneous wishes of the Party itself. The Christian Democratic Party emerged from its 1948 electoral victory very proud of its strength, and many of its members felt that it should have responded to the popular mandate by assuming the whole responsibility of governing. But Premier De Gasperi and his general staff considered that a one-party government would force the Christian Democrats to bear all the inevitable disadvantages of a difficult situation, and in addition would reopen the old sore, never completely healed, of clerical rule.
These considerations must have been in Premier De Gasperi's mind when he spoke at Fiuggi. The policy of the Christian Democratic Party, he declared, is founded not only in doctrine but in "historical experience." He then drew a distinction between the Demo-Christian creed, of a Catholic type, and therefore potentially all-embracing, and the practice that each political party must follow. From this "historical experience" he defined his Party's rôle as that of a center party which should be the pivot of a parliamentary coalition and a link between the broad masses and the state.
Members of the Christian Democratic Party also are displeased with the coöperation received from the Social Democrats, the Republicans and the Liberals. These
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