BACKGROUND AND LIKELY COURSE OF THE ITALIAN POLITICAL CRISIS

Created: 1/10/1978

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

hEKOSANDUM

SUDJECT: Background and Likely Course of the Italian Political

I. It has been clear since Prine Minister andreottl took officeonths aqo--relying on Ccnnunist abstention Invarious trends were working to ease the traditional rivalry between his Christian Democrats and the Communists and to push then toward closer cooperation. Host of these trends have accelemted in recent weeks:

impression has grown rapidly that the country's problem, particularly in the areas of the econtay and public order,overnmentroader consensus among the parties;

--The worseninq disarray in the Socialist Party appears to have led oost Christian Democratic leaders te conclude thst an alliance with It no longerorkable alternative to rapprocheaent with the Communists;

--The Communists, meanwhile, have acted as the government's shock absorber with organiied labor and provided crucial parliamentary support on keythe while continuing to convey the impression that the, arc evolving away from orthodoxy.

of this, coupled with the desire of mostj-istlan Oeinocrats for Ccomunist succort In next December's presidential election, has ledarked decline in Christian Democratic resistance to closer collaboration with the Communists'. The Christian Democrats have signaled this in many ways, for Instance by permitting the Communists to Join the traditional governing partiesoraal parliamentary endorsenent ofove

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suggesting that the Christian Democrats no longer plan to place as noch enpnasis on their traditional claim that the Communistshreat to Italy's western orientation.

Adding all of this up. Comnunist Party chiefgrowing pressure froa his rank and file, particularly tn organized labor-apparently decided just before Christmas that the time was ripe to push for new concessions; in an uncharacteristically tough and rigid tone, Berlinguer demardeo full Comnunist participationroadly-based "national emergency" coalition.

The Socialist and Republican parties had already been calling forhange, and the flrxness with which Berlinguer madt his move led politicians to conclude It would be impossible to staveovern-eent crisis. Andreottl Is therefore likely to resign before long,eriod of negotiations aaong the partiesew government.

Strategy sessions being held this week will set the course for the negotiations. The Christian Democratic directorate meets onto formulate the party's first official response to 9erl inguer-'s denand. Although top Christian Democratic leaders are unanimously on record agtlrui admitting the Ccsaunists to the cabinet at this tfat,

all but one of the party's major fiction leaders are clearly ready to give Berlinguer alnos: anything short of that.

Christian Democratic leaders, for example, have reportedly sounded out the snail Social Democratic and Republican parties about joining thinew government whose parHfinentary majority would formally Include the Cocrsunists. The Conwunlsts have long viewedevelopment as the penultimate stage in their plantep by step progressionabinet role.

In floatingIdeas, Christian Democratic leaders may face their toughest selling job with lower level officials of their own party. About sixty of theegislators, for ex*nple. have signed an open letter against any new concessions to the Communists. Host of these

are reform-minded first tamers who were elected largely on the basis of their ant1-co=munist views.

are trying to convince the party leadership that Ittrying another election beforetep that couldcriwnist cabinet role academic. But whiletrong possibility of gains In an election, they ariue

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that the Comcunists would hold theiror gain slightly in an election held no* and that the confrontation would thus solve nothing.

S. Meanwhile, the Socialist leadership will meet o- Friday and the Coemunist central com It tee will convene early next week to evaluate the Christian Oemocrats' official posture. Ihe Socialists are also pushing for Communist inclusion in the government but their ability to affect natters will be hindered by an Internal power struggle that has forced Socialist chief Craxl to devote oost of his energy to the task of simply keeping his job.

their part, the Communists have said littleabinet role, feerlfnguer is prepared to Itme rqi rwri 1

party leadership is aioing to come ol.vc

-mifjuiumuiircsonc fonaula that brlnjs the party Into the governnent's parliamentary majority. Differences of opinion witftln the leadership center mainly on tactical questions, with one group, including Berlinguer, wanting to hold out for cabinet posts until the last sinuto and another group arguing that the party should avoid long and tedious negotiations and settle gulckly for membership in the majority^

But Berlinguer's tough talk has probably raised high hopes among the rank and file, and he may feel It necessaryc-istrate that he has atoe hold In the cabinet. In that event, he sight press for the Inclusion in the cabinet of several "technicians" who are close to but not necessarily .nenbers of the party.

In short, to avoid an election, the parties mustormula that satisfies the Communists withoutplit In the Christian Democratic Party. Chances at this point appear better than even that they will succeed.

1?. Assuming they do, the bargaining process and the adjustmentew government could easily consume much of the tine remaining before June, when President Leone will enter his "whitehe last six months of his term during which he can no longer dissolve parliament and schedule new elections.

13. As outlined in our recent"Italy:ooke believe interparty barqaining leading up to the presidential election Is likely to Involve negot'atlonsormula for bringing the Communistsoalltlo'i government, probably after the nextelection which--asiuaing It can be avoided now--is likely to take place by

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