Created: 12/12/1962

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The creation of Premier Fanfani'a "center-left" coalition government supported in parliament by the Nenni Socialistsistorical realignment in Italian politics. Ther "opening to thes the present government is called,irst test of the viability ofbroader rapprochement between Catholic and Socialist forces which would involve the joint participation of the two parties in seme future Italian government.

The Idea of Coalition ishe questionatholic-Socialist rapprochement, of which tho present center-loft coalition government of Premier Amintore Fanfaniirst test, is almost as old as modern Italian politics. The "opening to therinistra, as the government formula ls called, has had its advocates and opponents ever since the two groups organised themselves into national political parties, the Socialistshe CathollcB To its advocates the apertura represents the summum bonum, to Its opponents, the supreme evil of Italian politics, forapprochement brings together not only two of the most numerous and representative Italian political forces, but also two of the most ideologically antagonistic. Until the post-World War II period, these two forces had been excluded, either through choice or necessity, from the governing process.

Following World War II, the Catholics and the Socialists, together with other forces that had fought in the wartime Italian Resistance movement against the Fascists, collaborated in the reeatabllehmentemocratic political system and sharedrief time cabinet posts in the immediate post-war governments. Developing East-Weat tensions, however, put an end to this

collaboration when the Italian socialist movement splitocialistocial democratic wing: the first firmly aligned with the Soviet-controlled Italian Communist party, the second equally firmly aligned with the pro-Western "center" democratic forces.

As long as the Socialists and the Communists were full-fledged alliesunity of action pact" and their policies, both domestic and international, ware practicallyocialist-Catholic rapprochement remained impossible. The moment that the Socialists began moving away from tho Communists andeasure of theirowever, hopea fora coalition were quickly revived.

With the denunciation and the ending of the unity of action pact between the Socialists and the Communists, talks f an opening to the loft'accompanied each succeeding government crisis. As polemics and differences, both ideological and political, between the Socialists and the Communists Increased, and numsrous ties between the two parties were gradually loosened or broken, the prospects for an eventual Catholic-Socialist rapprochement continued to increase.

Twice, during the two-month long cabinet crisis that followed the resignation of the Segnl government inhe leadership of ths Christian Democratic (Catholic) Partyttempted an'bpcnlng to the leftVwhich like the present government majority was to take the form of Socialist (PSI) parliamentary supportcenter-left" government consisting of the DC, the Social(PSDI) and the Republicans (PRI). Twice, the conservative minority within the DC, especially powerful elements within Its parliamentary groups who opposedovernment formula, frustrated the majority's plan by threatening to break partyand vote againstovernment.

The Coalitionowever, on Februaryanfani'e all-DC government which had since the summer0 been ln power with the support of the Christian Democrats, the PSDI, the PRI, and the PU, tendered Us resignation. After the usual rounds of consultations with the leaders of all politicaliovanni Gronchi asked Fanfani to form another government.

Armed with his own party's mandate and backing, received in the Party Congress the month before, and encouraged by the desire of the PSDI, PRI, and PSI to move quicklyolution of the government crisis, Fanfani began negotiations with the prospective supporters of the future center-left government.

Onanfani's coalition government was sworn Into office by President Gronchi. Of theabinet positions,inistries went to the Christiano the PSDI;o the Republicans, With one exception, every member of the new government had held cabinet positions in at least one previous government.

The Christian Democrats retained for themselves, beside the Prime Ministry, the important ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Defense. The PSDI and the PRI were awarded, as was to be expected, economic and financial ministries as an indication of the new government's intention ofeaningful program of social and economic reforms.

Then Marchanfanl presented his new government's program to parliament. The program had been ironed out among the three parties of the coalition and had received the assurance of Socialist parlimentary backing. Some of the planks of the new government's program had also appeared in the programs of previous governments. The most important innovationsnd the hallmark of the center-left governmentere basically three commitments made by Fanfanl when he submitted his program to parliament. They included:ommitment to explore the feasibility and desirability of the nationalization of the electric power industries;ommitment to establish the Friull-Venezia Giulia region; and to introduce in parliament by2 legislation for theof statutes for the establishment ofdditional regionalandhe establishmentational Economic Planning Board to formulate, coordinate,and direct Italian economic development policies. -

Onarliament completed the investiture process of the new government. Supporting the government were the three parties of the coalition (the DC, the PSDI, and the PRI),and the PSI which gave its parliamentary support in the form of an abstention.

In the nine month* since its investiture, the newformula has successfully met several significantappears to have established an adequate precedent for itsand eventual broadening following3 generalopposition both within and outside the government'smajority is still formidable, it appears to lack at thean alternative solution to thehould the lifepresent government come to an end before the Springit would not prejudice the continuation of the "openingleft" following the elections.

The Future - The government that will emerge following3 general elections is likely to be similar to the present one with the Nenni Socialist part of the government's parliamentary majority, but not yet participants in the cabinet, it is almosthowever, that the Socialists will be actual governmentsome time during the five-year life of the new parliament which will be elected

The longer the "experiment" lasts, the greater the chances of success in its dual and interrelated objectives: a)road program of social and economic reforms which can undercut Communist appeal, and b) the absorption of the Nenniinto the democratic area which would effectively contribute to the further isolation and electoral weakening of the Italian Communist Party.

The process of "democratization" of the Socialistswill be long and painful,ariety of factors, both domestic and international, wU contribute to its acceleration or its retardation. The emergenceocialist Party eithereliable andpartnerovernment coalition, oremocratic loyal opposition of the left, will certainly require the utmost skill, patience,

and perseverance of all the participants and supporters of the"opening to the left."

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