Italy's Threatened Democracy

January 10, 1975

Report Outline
Fear of Econemic and Political Chaos
Political Conditions in Postwar Italy
Threat to Survival of Democratic Rule
Special Focus

Fear of Econemic and Political Chaos

End to Italu's Longest Governmental Crisis

Italy, one of the world's largest industrial democracies, is now at the top of everybody's list of European nations ripe for collapse. Nearly all of the political, social and economic indicators point in that direction. Italy's allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Economic Community (Common Market) wonder nervously how much longer the republic's frail parliamentary system will be able to withstand the pressures bearing upon it. The country is beset by labor unrest, a 25 percent inflation, terrorist violence, bureaucratic inertia, governmental instability, and a breakdown in many public services.

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rumor on Oct. 3, Italians underwent a 51-day political crisis during which no party, or coalition of parties, seemed capable of forming a government. Eventually it was Aldo Moro, 58, a law professor with extensive experience in running a left-centrist government, who formed a minority coalition of Christian Democrats and Republicans on Nov. 23. It was Italy's 37th postwar government. And while the threats of a right-wing coup or a Communist-Socialist coalition momentarily receded, it was generally agreed that Moro was merely a caretaker who would prepare the budget and tidy up other business in preparation for general elections which are expected in 1975.

Nobody in Italy expects the elections to clear the chaotic condition of the country. This is not only because Italians do not seem to believe in the efficacy of parliamentary government, but also because there is the feeling that the economic crisis is beyond their control. Milan's conservative daily Corners della Sera wrote editorially: “This crisis is different. We are running the risk of a total collapse of the economic system.” Giovanni Agnelli, who is the chairman of the gigantic Fiat automotive company and the president of the General Confederation of Italian Industry, has said, “The situation is so grave that we cannot even afford to get frightened.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 10, 1975  Italy's Threatened Democracy
May 08, 1968  Italian Election, 1968
Mar. 06, 1963  Italian Politics and Elections
Sep. 16, 1949  Italian Colonies
Apr. 07, 1948  Italian Election
Apr. 13, 1937  Anglo-Italian Rivalry in the Mediterranean
Nov. 02, 1925  Italy's Capacity to Pay
Regional Political Affairs: Europe