The improvement of international relations – also in relation to the internal crises that emerged in the USSR after Stalin’s death – had beneficial effects on the internal situation of the country. The tripartite coalition, which began not without suspicions and reservations, was strengthened and strengthened on the way to concrete government works. A new liberal split (between 9 and 11 November the left left the PLI, under the banner of the “liberal democratic” party later called “Radical”) had no immediate consequences on the balance of the governing groups. The 10th national congress of the PSDI in Milan (3-5 February 1956) ratified the line of democratic solidarity with a large majority. The incipient symptoms of crisis in the Communist bloc seemed to confirm the validity of the social democratic approach almost ten years after the socialist split. A large and fruitful field was opening up for Social Democratic propaganda towards the uncertain and perplexed voters of the PSI: a field that had to be exploited in the now imminent administrative elections.
May 27, 1956 saw the renewal of the municipal and provincial councils in 7,090 municipalities and made it possible to verify the positions of the political forces three years after the political consultation of 1953. At that time there was talk of “revenge on June 7”. Indeed, the margin of the democratic forces widened, the losses of 1953 were largely filled. The DC firmly maintained its positions (reaching, in the provincial elections, almost 39% of the votes). The PSDI returned to the “maximum” of April 1948, collecting almost one million and eight hundred thousand votes in the elections for the provincial councils, where PCI and PSI had presented themselves together (and touching, in percentage, 7.5%). The PLI gained at the expense of the right (exceeding, again in the provincial elections, one million votes: 4.2% in percentage). Principles of regression registered monarchists and MSI (the right-wing bloc went from 11.2% in 1951-52 to 10.8). The Communists felt the repercussions of the XX Congress of the CPSU, while the Socialists only gained in the areas in which they accentuated their autonomy from the PCI.
According to topschoolsoflaw, the adoption of the proportional system (decided on March 8, 1956 for one of the commitments of the Segni government) made the formation of the councils more difficult and created contradictory alliances in various cities of the peninsula; but, more than the administrative difficulties, the problem of socialism weighed on the future developments of Italian politics, as it was posed in the light of the “de-Stalinization” and the consequent revision of the relations between PCI and PSI.
The echo of the “Khrushchev relationship” in Italy was immense; the possibility of a communist crisis appeared, to many democratic politicians, not impossible. In this climate a meeting took place between Saragat and Nenni (Pralognan, 25 August 1956), at the latter’s request. The general commitments assumed in that interview (PSI adherence to a foreign policy of Western solidarity and commitment never to collaborate in the government with the Communists) were the subject of endless and exhausting controversies, of conflicting and contradictory interpretations.
But the chapter of socialist unification was now open; Italian political life would have been dominated by it for years. The first backlash of events was suffered by the central government coalition. As the PSI accentuated the revisionist process of its traditional alliance with the communists, worn out by too many years of sterile opposition to democratic governments, the currents against further collaboration with the DC and the liberals were accentuated within the PSDI. Despite the good will shown on this occasion by the Liberal party, the reasons for friction and conflict tended to increase rather than diminish.
The VI national congress of the DC in Trento (14-18 October 1956) confirmed the validity of the centrist policy, but showed that it was not insensitive to the new orientations of the PSI. The Fanfanian secretariat had never closed rigidly on the PSI; and that had been one of the reasons for the conflict with the Scelba government. Already at the time of the socialist congress in Turin (31 March 3 April 1955) there had been clear signs of sympathy and interest from the DC in regard to a possible autonomic evolution of the PSI that would lead to a radical break with the communists.
The dramatic events of the Hungarian revolt (October-November 1956) were decisive in this sense. The deep emotion aroused in all free men by the generous resistance of that people to Soviet oppression favored, even in the Italian political spectrum, the conviction that the break between socialists and communists was now irreversible, that the PSI could no longer return to its decisions. Eloquent accents of condemnation of the Soviet intervention in Hungary resounded in the subsequent national congress that the PSI held in Venice between 6 and 11 February 1957: and in which it seemed that the threads of the old frontist politics were severed, at least for the most part. part. An autonomist current emerged in the congress; there was no shortage of courageous rejections of the old policy.
However, the victory of Nenni and his current was greatly limited in the final elections for the central committee, where the leftist groups achieved considerable success; but the movement, put into action by the “revirement” of the Venice congress, was by now unstoppable, it affected all political and parliamentary balances.