In view of the political elections, scheduled for April 21, Dini himself decided to present himself with his own political group, Rinnovamento italiano, in the alliance of the Olive tree. The PDS, the PPI, the Greens and the Democratic Union, a group of secular inspiration founded for the occasion by Maccanico, were part of the center-left alignment, led by Prodi. With the Communist Refoundation, on the other hand, an electoral agreement of ‘desistence’ was stipulated, on the basis of which the Olive tree renounced, in some single-member constituencies, to present its own candidates to support those of the Rifondazione, and for its part the latter undertook to support the center-left candidates in the other constituencies.
According to itypeauto, the elections (see tabs. 13, 14, 15) saw the success of the center-left coalition, which obtained an absolute majority in the Senate and that relating to the Chamber of Deputies, where the support of Rifondazione became crucial. L’Ulivo won 284 seats in the Chamber against 246 in the Freedom Pole, while Lega Nord and Rifondazione comunista obtained 59 and 35 seats respectively. As for the weight of the individual political forces, in the proportional share for the Chamber the PDS with 21, 1% Of the vote turned out the first party of the country, followed closely by Forza Italy with 20, 6 % of the vote. Other parties to the Olive Tree list for Prodi (including the PPI, the Democratic Union, the PRI and SVP) won the 6, 8 %, the Italian Renewal 4, 3 %, and the Greens on 2, 5 % of votes. Among the forces Polo Freedoms, went to the National Alliance on 15, 7 % of the votes and 5, 8% to the CCD and the CDU, presented with a common list. The Northern League, rooted in the northern regions, reported an unexpected and surprising success that belied all expectations, winning 10, 1 % of the vote nationally and surpassing the 30 % in the Northeast; The Communist Refoundation, for its part, obtained 8, 6 % of the votes.
Started the 13 in the legislature with the election of the popular N. Mancino as president of the Senate and the exponent of the PDS L. Violante to that of the House, in May Prodi it formed a center-left government of which he joined after almost fifty years, the largest party of the Italian left, direct heir of the PCI. Among the leaders of the PDS called to be part of the executive were among others W. Veltroni, vice president of the Council and Minister of Cultural Heritage, and G. Napolitano, Minister of the Interior. Prominent figures of the new government were, then, the former presidents of the Council Dini and Ciampi, who were respectively assigned the posts of Foreign Minister and Minister of the Treasury and the Budget (merged into a sort of Ministry of Economy).
A task of great impact on public opinion was that of Public Works entrusted to A. Di Pietro, a former magistrate, the most popular of the prosecutors involved in the Milanese investigations of Tangentopoli. The latter, after his resignation from the judiciary (April 1995), had remained at the center of general attention for his breezy entry into politics with an autonomous position in the center, but marked by populist accents, and at the same time for his involvement in various events judicial proceedings on charges of abuse of office and extortion, from which he was however acquitted. Di Pietro, who continued to arouse broad consensus and symmetrical dissension, under investigation again in a judicial proceeding, would resign as minister in the following November.
The Prodi government was faced with a series of problems never radically resolved, but which could be faced with the unusual tranquility allowed to an executive destined to last (according to forecasts destined to be denied) an entire legislature. In the first place, it was a question of finding a balance between the indispensable policy of financial rigor and the protection of the least protected classes. But a long-lasting perspective was hampered by the risks and diverse goals pursued by a heterogeneous majority that stretched from the center to the far left.
The first step, also dictated by the international commitments undertaken by the Italy, was to reduce the deficit of the state budget within the ratio of 3 % with the GDP: this was the most important of the parameters set in Maastricht for admission to the system. of the single European currency. Moreover, the external constraints induced by European obligations had already proved to be the most effective corrective measures for financial policy. Under the guidance of President Ciampi, a series of fiscal measures and public spending cuts allowed the Italy, Thanks to the gradual decline in inflation up to unusually low levels (1, 5 % or so), to rejoin the European Monetary System at the end of 1996, to settle at the end of1997, below the 3 % target, to officially enter Monetary Union in May 1998, surpassing the reserves of some European partners (see above: Economic and financial policy).