Italy in the 1990’s Part 4

Italy in the 1990's 4

According to elaineqho, an initial verification of the balance of power between the two camps took place in the regional elections in April, which showed a certain mobility of the political framework. The results attributed 9 regions to the center-left and 6 to the center-right. A second, albeit indirect, verification came from the referendums on the reduction of networks granted to a private individual and the reduction of advertising in television programs. The referendums clearly aimed at reducing Berlusconi’s television power, and the defeat of the proponents was a political success for the Milanese businessman and his ability to guide the general public in this field. Among the twelve referendums voted in the same round (11 June 1995) the one that intended to extend to all municipalities the new electoral law with a strong majority, introduced in 1993 for municipalities up to 15, was beaten. 000 residents, while those aimed at reducing the prerogatives of the major confederations in the enjoyment of trade union rights were successful.

In the meantime, the renewal of the parties had continued to adapt to the new situation. In January 1995 the National Alliance was transformed into a real party: in Fiuggi the last congress of the MSI and the first of the new political force had been celebrated. Important changes had also taken place within the PPI: in the spring, serious disagreements between the supporters of an agreement with the progressive forces and the supporters of an alliance with the center-right ones had led to a split into two opposing segments, led respectively by G. Bianco and R. Buttiglione (in July the latter would later give life to a new party, called Christian Democrats United, CDU). Left, while from November 1994 part of the legacy of the PSI and its political staff was collected in a new political formation called Italian Socialists (SI), the PDS continued the policy already started at the administrative level and aimed at building a government alliance with the parties of center, giving official support in July to Prodi’s candidacy and to the deployment of the Olive tree. The Communist Refoundation, on the other hand, continued the policy of clear opposition to the Dini government in the name of a rigid, and at times effective, defense of the consolidated protections offered by the welfare state, even of those mechanisms now considered anachronistic by all the other political forces. In particular, the PRC had strongly opposed, even resorting to parliamentary obstruction, the pension reform project presented in May by the executive, on which there was a partial convergence between the forces that supported the Dini cabinet and those of the center-right. After some changes, between July and August the Parliament approved a bill that modified above all the pension calculation system, which would refer to the contributions paid while working and no longer instead to the wages received, thus gradually passing from the system salary to that of contributions, similar to that in force in other economically advanced countries.

The following months were characterized by the tensions deriving from the unresolved relations between politics and justice. In October all the politicians investigated in the Enimont case were found guilty by the Court of Milan (among others, B. Craxi, A. Forlani, C. Martelli, P. Cirino Pomicino and the ex administrator of the DC, S. Citaristi) and the convictions were confirmed in subsequent appeals. While Berlusconi, indicted for the alleged bribes paid by the Fininvest group to the Guardia di Finanza, accentuated the controversy against the Milanese judiciary, complaining of a persecutory attitude towards him, a sharp contrast arose between the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Minister of Grace and Justice, the former magistrate F. Mancuso, following the ministerial inspections and disciplinary actions promoted by the latter against the ‘Clean Hands’ pool. The story resulted in an open political and institutional crisis, which saw the opposition forces, lined up with the Keeper of the Seals, and those of the majority, who supported the motion of personal no confidence presented by the Progressives against Mancuso, who was finally forced to resign. and replaced ad interim by the Prime Minister.

Against the background of the recurring tensions remained the prospect of the inevitable early electoral round. But the political forces did not seem willing to agree on the date of the new elections. The popular consultation was constantly proposed and postponed, recalling as a priority the need to fine-tune the rules of the new alternation system, to modify the electoral law, considered unsatisfactory, to address the basic lines of the institutional reforms by basing them on a broad understanding. Alongside these reasons, many counted on the extension of time to define the difficult internal balances of the two electoral cartels and on a gradual downsizing of the League’s phenomenon. The League, in fact, detached itself from the Polo and sided with the center-left in the majority that supported Dini, it appeared to most people as a politically uncontrollable and substantially anti-system factor. Between the end of1995 and early 1996, after the approval of the budget law and the resignation of the Dini government (January) which considered its task exhausted, even the last attempts to find a political agreement between the majority and the opposition proved useless. Failed an attempt entrusted to A. Maccanico to form a government of ‘broad understandings’, which would initiate institutional reforms in a semi-presidential sense, in February the President of the Republic dissolved the Chambers.

Italy in the 1990's 4