Created: 9/15/1980

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Italian Political Situation

I. Italian Price Minister Cossiga's tripartite government currently faces its most serious challenge to date. Aftervote of confidence" In the nationwide localune, the Christian Derro-vratic-Soclalist-Republican coallticr his been checkedt* bid toits still shaky hold on power by Its failure to sake tangible progress in combatting Italy's persistent economic and terrorist proolems. The government's ability to overcome these difficulties will hinge on its success In lessening tensions within the coaJltliu^itself and Improving relations with the opposition parties,|

2. Christianby leaders such as Minister of IndustrySocialistsonsiderable risk in agreeing prior to the election to participate In this government. In each case, theby party moderates andof leftwing factions hoping toore cooperativebetween the government and the Ccmmu?ists. However, the gamble seemed to pay off. The results of the June election appeared to indicate public support for the newly-established coalition ana were.lnterDceledt to provide effective government.[

3. Since the election, both Christian Democratic and Socialistsought to fulfill voter expectations for goodcontrol over their respscttve parties in the process. Dominantare deteiilnea to tie the Socialists more firmly to theaccomplish this goal, they have been Willing to grant their partnerswithin tha covernment, although only in exchange for totalto the coalition and Its policies. Socialist leaders havethe Christian Cerxcratlc conditions in the hepe of being takenin the councils of government than was their party'sthe days of tne center-left coalitions of. Each groupthat theit stands to gain from the relationshipforce its leftwing opponents back into theto

the point that they are no longer serious threats.


a. (leftwing Christian Democrats and Socialists continue to haveabout the Cosslga government and seam determined to keep It off balance. They "eve not, however, gone so far as to desert it on recent roll-call confidence votes for fear of discrediting themselves--and thilr calls for greater cooperation with theopening tLemsalves to charges of disloyalty. At thee, Cossiga has been reluctant to provoke confrontations with then and has preferred to retreat on important legislativeis "is economicthan risk exacerbat-Ing tensions wltMa tht|

5. Governmental effectiveness also has been hampered by stiff Coomunist opposition. Qti CsTiunists view the cullapse of Cossiga's coalitionecessaryz tcr-ard resuming their driveirect governing rolej They are determine; to question the gavermnent on every available issue, in this fashion hoping to encourage both leftwing Christian Desocrats and Socialists to stap up their own criticises of the coalition, challenge the dominant factions for control of their respective parties, and ultimately succeed in bringing the government down. The key to the Communist strategy is to wean the Socialists from their alliance with the Christian Oenocrats in order" e Communists tne Indispensable element of Italy's governability.

Mast recently, the another problem: pariiamentary ob

goverment "as been stymied tn its work by yet ry obstructionism on the part of the vocal Radical Party and the neo-fascist Italian Social rtjvement. Cossiga's failure toecent filibuster by these two parties against his economic program has underlined his coalition's Inherent weakness, and he is feeling intense public and political pressure to make soae corrective adjustmentsis governmental formula. This pressure is likpla^to intensify later this year if anticipated labor unrest materializes.F

alternetive that has gained some currency calls far Cossigahis government by including the Socialpcrhap*bolster its parliamentary clout. But, while thecould certainly see the mathematical advantages Inove,

he would likely calculate chat it probably would worsen strains among present coalition members. Htirtually certain that both the Socialist and Republicanoarties would resist dilution of their own influence within then addition, leftwing Christian Democrats and Socialists undoubtedly would osjtct strongly to the creationive-partyent thatear even core ant1-Comnunist than the current formula, finally, them<-k abe expected to intensify their own opposition]

Cossiga concludeshange in the government would besa/ est to stick with the current coalitionake changes In the cabinet-

possibly to include leftwing Christian Cesocrats and Socialists. This move might helo caln existing tensions in the government and couldong way in

improving relations with the opposition; the Communists already have hinted

that they would moderate their ocpoiitlon if the current

they perceive as symbolica'.lyreplaced.

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