Italy: From Revolution to Republic, 1700 to the Present

By Spencer M. Di Scala | Go to book overview

19
Postwar Politics:
"Imperfect Bipolarism"

Given The PCI ’S Exclusion from the ruling coalition, the political arithmetic meant permanent control of the government by the other large party, the Christian Democratic. But steady electoral losses for the DC-led bloc, combined with PCI increases as time went on, rendered the governmental system even more unstable than provided for by the institutional makeup, despite addition of the Socialists to the ruling coalition in the 1960s. These conditions produced a gridlocked political situation labeled "imperfect bipolarism" by political scientist Giorgio Galli. This term means that—because of domestic and international fears the Communists and their supporters would establish a Soviet-style dictatorship and ally Italy with the USSR should they be entrusted with any degree of governmental participation—the alternation of power became impossible. Because Communists and not Socialists dominated the Italian left, Italy became a "blocked democracy." During the duration of the Cold War, DC-led coalitions could not be voted out of power; this long tenure in office favored the inefficiency and corruption that produced the republic’s major crises.


Centrism

Following World War II, the major items of business for Italy were negotiation of a peace treaty, rebuilding a political system, and reconstruction of the economy. The first question found a relatively rapid resolution, while the second proved the thorniest; both will be the subject of this chapter. As will be discussed in Chapter 20, the republic completed the third task beyond everyone’s wildest expectations.

Even though the peace treaty allowed the country to put the war behind it because most of the questions were settled, its terms deluded many anti-fascists because they had expected their opposition to Mussolini, their role in the Re-

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