As Italy faced what is probably its worst political crisis since the Second World War, the Italian Socialist party and the Christian Democrat Party - both participants in Prime Minister Mariano Rumor's shaky coalition Government - held separate meetings on Tuesday (25 June) to discuss the Government's economic package which will be presented to Parliament on Thursday.
CU PAN FROM Socialist sign on building TO entrance of Socialist party building
CU INT. PAN FROM Socialist symbol TO Secretary Martino and delegates sitting round table
CU ZOOM OUT FROM Deputy Riccardo Lombardi reading paper ZOOM OUT TO other delegates
SCU Socialist President Pietro Nenni handing document to delegate
GV Democratic Party building
SV Defence Minister Andreotti wearing glasses out of building and walks to car (2 shots)
SCU Italian P.M. Rumor into car which leaves for airport (2 shots)
SV Sen. Fanfani out of building - walks to car and departs surrounded by newsmen (3 shots)
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Background: As Italy faced what is probably its worst political crisis since the Second World War, the Italian Socialist party and the Christian Democrat Party - both participants in Prime Minister Mariano Rumor's shaky coalition Government - held separate meetings on Tuesday (25 June) to discuss the Government's economic package which will be presented to Parliament on Thursday.
The package is expected to raise three billion lira (about GBP 2,000 million) to avoid national bankruptcy, and most Italians are preparing themselves for stiff increases in taxes, and the price of petrol, gas, electricity and other services. The emergency measures were agreed last week by all four parties in the Government - the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, the Social Democrats and the Republicans.
Italy suffers political crises so frequently that nobody is surprised when the Government falls. After all, it has happened 35 time sin the last 31 years. But last week, when the country's 36th government resigned after only 89 days, it was generally recognised that this time there was a big difference.
This year's crisis is a direct result of an economic disaster that has reduced Italy - the World's seventh largest industrial nation -to the status of Europe's sickest country, and threatens consequences beyond its borders. One Milan newspaper went so far as to say "We are running the risk of a total collapse of the economic system".
The crisis was so different that when Signor Rumor offered his resignation to President Giovanni Leone, the President refused to accept it, and asked him to try and form a new government.
The gravity of the crisis is shown by the fact that Italy has had to borrow so heavily to support the lira, that annual interest payments alone amount to seven hundred million dollars. The rate o inflation - the underlying cause of the crisis - will soon have reached 20 per cent.
On top of all this, the political parties appear to be in some disarray. The Christian Democrats are under growing strain internally following the abrupt dismissal from an executive position of a former minister, Signor Carlo Donat-Cattin.
The Socialist party, on the other hand, is expected to demand a much bigger share in the decision-making of the centre-left cabinet. It was their objection to an even tighter credit squeeze, proposed by Treasury Minister Signor Emilio Colombo, which was the initial cause of Signor Rumor's resignation offer. Because of Socialist pressure, Thursday's economic package may well announce some easing of the credit squeeze, with a review of the situation by the end of September.