Socialist leader Bettino Craxi accepted a mandate to form Italy's 38th Government since the Second World War on Monday (8 July).
SV Socialist Leader Bettino Craxi emerges from Meeting with President Pertini at Presidential Palace in Rome to speak to newsmen.
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Background: Socialist leader Bettino Craxi accepted a mandate to form Italy's 38th Government since the Second World War on Monday (8 July). It was a surprise development in the six month old political crisis. Mr. Craxi will hold talks with leaders of other parties before reporting back to President Sandro Pertini. If he succeeds in forming a government he will become Italy's first socialist Prime Minister.
SYNOPSIS: Signor Craxi was called to the Presidential Place on Monday after President Pertini had spend the weekend considering who should be asked to form a government. ???r. Giulio Andreotti, whose cabinet was defeated on the 30th of January gave up trying to form a new government on Saturday (6 July). Both the Christian Democrats led by Sr. Andreotti and the Communists who engineered his defeat lost popularity at the polls last month. And Craxi said then, he would not support a minority Christian Democratic Administration.
Signor Craxi's party collected only ten percent of the vote in the recent elections. He has been trying to promote his party as a left-wing alternative to the much bigger Communist Party and as a challenge to the Christian Democrats, Italy's largest party. In the past two years the Socialists have repeatedly tried to embarrass the Communists by promoting conferences and debates on dissidents in Eastern Europe.
Sr. Craxi told reporters he is aware of the difficulties he faces. The Communists continue to demand seats in the Cabinet in return for their support. Otherwise, they say they will go into opposition. Signor Craxi said he was surprised by President Pertini's decision to ask him to form a new government.
Bettino Craxi is forty-five-years-old. From 1960 to 1970 he was a Milan City Councillor and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies from Milan in 1968. He has never held a Ministerial Office. This is only the second time in the past-war republic that a non-Christian has been asked to form a government.