For over three week now the 20,000 inhabitants of the tiny republic of San Marino, in the hills near Rimini on Italy's Adriatic coast, have been without a government.
For over three week now the 20,000 inhabitants of the tiny republic of San Marino, in the hills near Rimini on Italy's Adriatic coast, have been without a government. The crisis began when the Socialist Party pulled out of the Government it had formed with San Marino's largest party, the Christian Democrats.
SYNOPSIS: With the break up of the government the joint heads of state -- two captains regent who are elected every six months -- asked the Christian Democrats to try and form a new government. But they could not raise any support apart from the 25 members they have in the 60-seat parliament. So the chance was then given to the 16-seat communist party to take control.
But, although they won the support of 14 other parliamentarians, including the nine members of the Socialist party, they failed to get the one remaining vote necessary to give them and overall majority. Had they got that one vote they would have become Western Europe's only communist government.
The Communist Party leader, Signor Umberto Barulli, had tried for 10 days, after being given the mandate, to form a government.
He had last minute talks with Signor Renzo Bonelli leader of a group called the State Liberty Movement to try and persuade him into a coalition that had been formed with the socialists and a number of independents. But Bonelli rejected the offer, knowing that if he accepted the Communists would take power, saying that he could not be responsible for bringing Marxist-Leninism back to San Marino.
The small country has already had a communist government. They were in power for 12 years, from the end of the second world war until 1957, when they were overthrown in a bloodless coup. It now seems that the political crisis in San Marion will have to be solved by a general election -- probably in the spring.
And if it comes to an election one of the main issues will be tourism. About two million tourists, most of them Italian, visit the republic every year. Signor Barulli, the communist leader has said he does not want San Marino to become `Another Monte Carlo', and this had led to fears of a recession amongst people in the tourist industry.