The parliament of Italy was dissolved on Monday (2 April) by President Sandro Pertini, following the defeat of Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti's government in a senate vote of confidence of Saturday (31 March).
The parliament of Italy was dissolved on Monday (2 April) by President Sandro Pertini, following the defeat of Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti's government in a senate vote of confidence of Saturday (31 March). The move opens the way for an early general election which, commentators suggest, will be a test of strength between the Christian Democrats and the Communists.
SYNOPSIS: Premier Andreotti's three party coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Republicans took office on March 21. On Saturday it was brought down by a margin of one in a vote of confidence in the Senate. The cabinet, close collaboration with Signor Pertini, will now decide on the date of the election, but Reuters reports that a source close to the Prime Minister said it would be on June 9 and 10, coinciding with polling for the European Parliament. Signor Andreotti's government was the first attempted coalition since 1976.
Opinion polls suggest that in the elections, the Christian Democrats will increase their strength at the expense of the Communists, but are unlikely to achieve an overall majority. Italy's last elections, in June 1976, following an early dissolution of Parliament, gave the Christian Democrats 38 per cent of the vote and the Communists 34 per cent. The subsequent history of Italy's seventh an shortest postwar Parliament was dominated by the unresolved struggle between these two parties with the Christian Democrats trying several formulae, including a brief pact with the Communists, to continue governing. Saturday's vote brought their efforts to an end.
After the 1976 elections, the Christian Democrats at first governed alone, relying on Communist abstention. In March last year, the communists became active Government partners by joining the parliamentary majority. But the pact was always a strained one and in January, the Communists withdrew when it became clear they were losing rank and file support and gaining nothing. Communist leader Enrico Berlinguer said the party would only support the government if given ministerial responsibility. The Christian Democrats, always opposed to this, rejected any power sharing and began to search for a new Parliamentary majority.
President Pertini explored every channel to avoid elections, but both Socialists and Communists opposed the coalition and observers predicted the confidence vote would bring down the government.