SUBJECT: me Italian Political Situation
dramatic public clashes arerseans that
political scene in theltalian
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level. When thepowor at national
party loaders were forced forDemocrats--
thett, seek Communist abstention in
The Communists agrood and Andreotti's Christian Democratic minority government is now three months into it3 second year. The Coirxaunists had received some significant concessions for their cooperation, but they continued to press duringirst year for an additional quid pro quo in the forraarger and more visible role in the polloynaking process. The Christian Democrats resisted for months, but finally had to meet the Cotnauaists halfway last summer by including them in formal intorparty negotiations on key aupccts of theprogram.
Much of the political controversy in the coming months will center on the Christian Democrats1 varying interpretations of the program agreement. Not only do they disagree on how to implement some of the more vague proposals in the accord; they arc also at odds over the targor political implications of the agreement. While the Communistc portray it as an historic first step toward government riembership, the Christian Democrats characterize itemporary arrangement to deal with economic and social emergencies*
Despite these differences, both parties clearly view the program accorday to buy ti;ae for additional maneuvering and toeasure of goverm-cntal stability, at least for the next several months and possiblyear or so. None of the major parties sees anything to gain by bringing down the government in the near term, since there is at present no workable alternative to tlie Andreotti formula.
The future of Italian politics hinges in large part on which of the two major parties is right in betting that time is on its side. The Communists arc hopingontinuation of the present arrangement will enable them to demonstrate their responsibility, neutralize much of the remaining anti-Consnunist sentiment, and maneuver the Christian Democrats step by stepull fledged governing partnership. For their part, the Christian Democrats hope that involving the Communist Party in the governing process will destroy its uniqueness and eventuilly sap its strength, forcing the Communists over time to confront their internal contradictions as apartyocial democratic platform.
The game Is far from over, but the Communist prognosis seems fa'^orcd over the long ternariety of factors, amon^ thea:
-the persistent disarray and declining fortunes of the Christian Democrats' other pousible allies, the Socialist Pasty in particular;
-the likelihood that the Communists' moderate policies are gaining them moro support in the center than they are losing on the leftf
-the likelihood that the longer the cooperation with the Communists continues, the harder it will be for the Christian Democrats to switch back to other ways of joverning Italy.