The Italy Legislature Following the 1953 Elections Part 1
President De Gasperi once again did his utmost to save the possibility of a formula of democratic solidarity, turning to the old allies of the center for a “government of good will”; but he received a firm rejection of the PSDI, the party of the Hon. Saragat who advocated, albeit in an experimental and demonstrative way, a formula of “opening to the left”. With all the possibilities of a coalition vanished, De Gasperi decided to attempt a single-color government: relying on a benevolent expectation from the center and perhaps on a monarchical abstention. But the “yes” of the center was missing, and thus the abstention of the PNM (stiffened in a policy of rancor and spite). On July 28, the great statesman, who had linked his name to the reconstruction of Italian democracy, was beaten by a vote of the Parliament,
According to topmbadirectory, an attempt at a four-party government chaired by Attilio Piccioni failed; on 15 August, President Einaudi gave an emergency mandate, for a “business government” limited in time and program, to Giuseppe Pella, former holder of the budget department. The new Prime Minister presented himself to the Chambers with a predominantly technical government, reinforced by some qualified independents.
However, the developments in the international situation soon forced the Pella ministry to go beyond the limits in which it had voluntarily confined itself. In particular, the sudden worsening of the Trieste question (with Marshal Tito’s speech in San Basso and the request for annexation to Yugoslavia of zone B) pushed the government to adopt attitudes that solicited the enthusiastic consent of the right-wing groupings. The administrative single-color therefore began to characterize itself more and more as a center-right government: the diffidence and perplexities, within the DC, were accentuated.
In September the secretariat of Christian Democracy was taken over, albeit after a contested vote, by De Gasperi, who succeeded G. Gonella. The crisis of the party, following the elections of 7 June, was now in the process of overcoming; a clarification of the relations between the party and the government was required.
Having come to the test, the Pella government, born outside any indication of the party and for a discretionary choice of the head of state, did not want to bend to the interference of the party in the choice of ministers (in view of a breezy reshuffle), and preferred the January 4, 1954 resign. An attempt to govern the DC alone by Amintore Fanfani did not win the confidence of the Chamber, despite the vigorous commitment of the new president and the considerable amount of bills presented at the same time as asking Parliament for confidence.
The worrying developments of the crisis now pushed the parties of the democratic center to reexamine their position. The intransigences, understandable in the climate of electoral defeat, no longer made sense more than seven months after the failure of the majority law. The PSDI was convinced that a collaboration with the DC, under certain conditions, would have achieved better results than an opposition justified only by the somewhat vague hopes of a democratic maturation of the PSI.
Under these conditions the quadripartite cabinet of the Hon. Scelba. De Gasperi’s former Minister of the Interior had not participated in the governments after 7 June 1953 and had relaunched, in a speech in Novara in November 1953, the formula of democratic solidarity between the parties of the traditional center. Liberals and Social Democrats joined the coalition (with Sagarat in the vice-presidency); the republicans, who had also voted in favor of the single-color Fanfani, remained outside it, in a line of external support.
The Chamber voted to trust the new government with 300 yes, 283 no and one abstention; the Senate with 123 yes, 110 no and 2 abstentions. It was a narrow majority margin, but the ministry started its activity with enthusiasm and fervor. Not even the storm unleashed on the country by the so-called “Montesi case”) failed to stop the legislative pace of the new coalition cabinet, inspired by a reform program (particularly the tax one) and supported by firm anti-totalitarian prejudices, with a vigorous commitment of loyalty to the Atlantic Pact and to the pro-European policy as outlined by Sforza and De Gasperi. Meanwhile, a very important fact occurred: at the national congress of the DC, held in Naples (26-29 June), the current of “Democratic Initiative”, led by Fanfani,
Unfortunately, less than two months later, the death of Alcide De Gasperi (19 August 1954) deprived Christian democracy of the authority, the balancing brake and the guiding guide of the most distinguished of its leaders, who had recently become president of the national council of the match. The contrasts between the DC currents, not overcome by the Naples congress, began to resurface; the collaboration between the democratic parties experienced difficult moments again. Even Europeanist politics no longer represented the fundamental unitary cement of coalitions: since, on 30 August 1954, the French Chamber rejected the EDC and opened the crisis, not yet closed, of Europeanist institutions and ideals.
On September 18, 1954, Piccioni’s resignation as foreign minister caused a ministerial reshuffle. Piccioni was succeeded by the liberal Martino, who left the Ministry of Education to the Christian Democrat Ermini (and that transition was the subject of lively criticism in secular circles). The subsequent parliamentary debate did not lack stormy notes, as the opposition tried to exploit the “moral question” at all costs (taking the pretext from the judicial developments of the investigation into the so-called “Montesi case”).