History of Italy / Politics

The Italian First Republic strikes back

“First Italian Republic” is the name conventionally given to the period in the history of Italy going from 1946 to 1992.

The First Italian Republic had many different features, but the main one was the coexistence in Parliament of many small parties, with the consequence that Governments rarely lasted more than one year.

The Second Italian Republic tried to introduce the so-called “bipolar system”, based on two main coalitions. It worked, giving the Nation more stable Governments, but it left the still powerful Catholic Church without its flagship party, the Christian Democratic Party.

However, the bipolar system is now dangerously tottering.

Mr Berlusconi’s party split.

Mr Monti’s party split.

Some MPs left the Five Stars Movement, or were expelled. The mere existence of the Movement, with his 25 percent of votes, is a threat to the bipolar system.

The Northern League and the Democratic Party are deeply divided.

The Catholic MPs had a big part in some of these breakups, as well as in the internal struggles of the Democratic Party.

In December, the Constitutional Court is expected to cancel the “majority prize” inserted in the electoral law to allow someone to form a Government.

By theory, the Letta Government should enact a new electoral law, but now it is supported by a handful of former Berlusconi’s MPs, who will found yet another small party and have every interest in boycotting the bipolar system, also because of their Catholic orientation.

The Five Stars Movement, by theory, wants a new electoral law, but it is not going to cooperate with the Government or the mainstream parties supporting it.

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