One June 15, Italy's President Leone yielded to the pressure of corruption accusations and resigned his office.
One June 15, Italy's President Leone yielded to the pressure of corruption accusations and resigned his office. His departure into political oblivion leaves Italy with yet another political crisis -although this one should be quickly resolved when the two houses of the Italian parliament vote for a new President on Thursday June 29.
SYNOPSIS: The Quirinale Palace - home of Italian Presidents - will have a new occupant this week if Italy's parliament can agree on the choice. Front runner in the race on the eve of the voting is Amintore Fanfani, the man who became interim President when Leone resigned. it is said that to become head of State is Fanfani's last remaining ambition. He has been Prime Minister of Italy four times and a dominant figure in the ruling Christian Democrat party for decades, He has stood for Presidential office twice before - in 1964 and 1970. But the winner will require Communist support - and Mr. Fanfani is not popular with the left.
A candidate of unimpeachable integrity and wide popularity is Signor Benig??? Zaccagnini, Secretary-General of the Christian Democrats. He is in favour of reforming the old Christian Democrat principal of sharing power with the Catholic church and would thereafter be likely to gain Communist support when parliament votes. And a Christian Democrat with Communist support would symbolise the probable direction of Italian politics in the next few years.
The socialists are led by Signor Benedotto Craxi. He is not a candidate but supports the bid of a former Socialist leader, Signor Francesco De Martino. If signor Martino does win the day, it will be an indication that the old alliance between Christian Democrats and Socialists still holds good, since Signor De Martino cannot win without Christian Democrat support. This is a strong possibility, however, since the Socialists under the new leadership of Signor Craxi have tended to move to the right. And it is widely believed that present Prime Minister Guili??? Andreotti would like a quick result to clear the way for a new general election in an effort to outstrip the Communists and gain a clear mandate.
The fourth candidate with a chance of winning is Signor Ugo La Malfa, veteran Republican party leader who is assuming the role of elder statesman in Italian politics. He could be the compromise if the others fail to win outright. But however goes to the Quirinale, this election may be rehearsal for a general election in the autumn.