The End of Post-War Politics in Italy: The Landmark 1992 Elections

The End of Post-War Politics in Italy: The Landmark 1992 Elections

The End of Post-War Politics in Italy: The Landmark 1992 Elections

The End of Post-War Politics in Italy: The Landmark 1992 Elections


"The end of Italy's Communist Party and the decline of the Christian Democratic Party are reflections of profound changes taking place within the political and cultural fabric of that country and in Europe as a whole. In recent years, an increasingly well educated public has become intensely dissatisfied with Italy's "party system," yet a widespread belief still exists in the international community that the nation's domestic political system is irredeemably calcified. In this volume, eminent American and European scholars challenge the prevailing wisdom as they analyze the 1992 elections and the far-reaching impact of the Amato government's reform efforts, the devaluation of the lira, and shake-ups within the parties. Arguing that the losses suffered by the ruling parties in the elections accelerated the disintegration of the political order, the contributors show how the resulting exposure of corruption - an integral part of the post-war system - created overwhelming public demand for institutional reform." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The 1992 elections are a landmark in Italian political history. The shifts in voting patterns were greater than usual, with the ruling Christian Democrats slumping below 30 percent, the ex-Communists sacrificing 10 percent in the process of ceasing to be Communists, and the Lombardy League breaking through. Still more importantly, the voters sent a clear message that they no longer wished to be governed by the weak coalitions and the manipulating party secretaries that have dominated since 1945. Post-war politics is over. It did not die suddenly, and its demise has not been celebrated with a grandiose funeral. The origins of the decline and transformation of the Communists are to be sought in the late 1970s, and this is only one reason why it is too simple to explain what has happened merely as a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Changes in Italian society are at least as important.

The old regime did not vanish in the April elections. Rather, it lingered like a ghost in the shape of a government that was unable to govern and even less able to protect the political class against the revelations of corruption which have dominated the last year. Slowly and with cries of pain, that class is being forced to adopt an electoral system which will make possible a different kind of government.

The aim of this book is to analyze the elections in this context. There are chapters on all the significant political parties, on the changes in voting patterns, and on the process by which the new president and government were chosen. To this the editors have added an introduction on the crisis of the old order and a conclusion on the tortuous process by which a new regime is emerging.

We wish to thank not merely our collaborators but also the many other people who have helped. They include two Bologna Center directors, Stephen Low and Robert Evans, the secretarial staff led by Margaret Cappelletti, and the library staff. Gianfranco Pasquino's research for his chapters and the translation of the chapters by Piero Ignazi and Renato Mannheimer were financed by a grant from the Sixty Percent Fund of the Italian National Research Council. Finally we express our gratitude to Patrick McCarthy's research assistant, Christine Knudsen, who was miraculously able to pull together chapters, meet deadlines, and juggle ten balls in the air at the same time, while remaining serene and cheerful.

Gianfranco Pasquino and Patrick McCarthy Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Center . . .

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