THE ITALIAN POLITICAL CRISIS

Created: 5/17/1960

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY CFFIC^ATIONAL ESTIMATES

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HEJOwfcKDDM FCR THE DIRECT CH GP CENTRAL BtTELLICEKCS SUBJECT i Tba Italian Political Criaifl

Suiuaary. The disintegration of tho center as tbo stabilising influence in Italian politics has left Italy in the gripuadan-antal political criala which baa been only tensor arl^ eased by parllamentio reluctant acceptance of tho Tambroni "carotakar" govoruzont. Tba future of Italian porliameiitary democracy vill probably bingo In large degree on developments within the next few ton the. Ve believe It unlikely that the center coalition con be reconstituted and revitalised. The creationenter-loft gOTexnoont with tacit Socialist support would provide seen opportunities forew political equilibrium excluding the estxamlata of right and left from power, However, i'4 wculd rlak splitting tbo CD, and aroualcg bitter opposition from the right and right center. It night also open tho wayurther leftward trend in Italian politico. Tbe onlyappears to be atoward political disintegration, with

a divided ecd icpoteat center caught between the threatoup by on Increasingly embittered and adTH-ntfiroua right growing preaDnre fron an incrooclngly assertive loft.

Italianelnctant acceptance of"caretaker" governnent leaves unreeolvcd thowhich left Italy leaderlese andtatepnralysio for aero than two months, Thsinvolving acceptarjce of neo-fascist votes to p'crldemajority, was vetoed once by tho rulingParty (cp) and finally accepted only after alland formulas had beea discarded and Tambroni hadconfine Liceolf to carrying out previcuaiy agreed Tambroni himself hap long been an object of fearanoeg hia party colleagues, end hia maneuvering during

the present cxisia has alnoet certainly intensified these micgivings.

theocal and provincial electionsat this time indefinitely poetpooed, Taabronl nay be ableuntil the end of parliamentary vacations lc late mimor,

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thusasis fcr passage of tbe budget and other routine legislation. However, Italian political leaders, will sooner or later have to face up to tbe basic problems posed in the presentwhich threatens to turnrlito do regime.

Thi? Knture of the Crlnls

3. The basic characteristic of the present crisisand the reason fcr its unusual gravityIs the fact that itisintegration of the center as the stabilizing influence in Italian politics. For 12 years the CD and the smaller parties of the centertbe Liberalsepublicansnd Covial DemocratsI)provided Italy with moderate coalition government and serveduffor bctweon the Coranunlsts (FCI) and Socialists (psi) of the left and tho fascist-tinged extreme right. Beginning with the UDfs loss of an absolute parliamentary majorityowever, the etrongth and coheaive-neos of the center has slowly declined. Especially over the last few years, tha electorate's center of gravity baa drifted leftwardesult of pcpQlar disillusionment over the immcblllen of successive CD-dccrLrated governments, growing dioinclination to regard tfD control of the governnent as Deceeaary tocosunlat takocvcr, and the increased stature and respectability

of, The latter baa moved away from its fcs-mer close association vlth the CcjnEuniats at the national level, even though it still cooperates with them in tbe labor and cooperative fields and in many local adndJilatrations. At the sane tire, Italy's rapid economic growth has ledejuvenation and expansion of the political right.

Iu Asa result, etrong centrifugal tendencies have developed, both among the scalier parties of the center and within the CD itself. The present crisis has been markedrowing split between theig-buciness supported party whose withdrawal of support from the Segni government precipitated ite collapse, and the FSDI, which has become increasingly concerned to demonstrate its socialist principles and to avoid association vlthelements. The crisis has also brought into thelnilar division in tbe CD. The CD left and much of the centereal with Nenni for Socialist support ofnot participation in) the governnenteans of getting on with progressive eoclal and economic legislation and thus refurbishing the CD's popaiar Image. However, this has been bitterly and thus far successfully blocked by the CD right, which repreeentsraction of the organized party, but which,

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with tbe support of conservative elements within tbeill corcmando iirportant power within the party apparatus. The CD, aa the principal party of the center, has thus been left flcundering arc virtually paralyzed, with its popular cppeal flagging and its organisational unity gravely threatened.*

i-.Mce Eefrra tho CO

the CD will go about the task of restoringmm and the specific fcrxulaticcs that cay be attempteda WXbOS of shifting personal relationships andwillonsiderable extent overshadow the brcador ia; In general, however, tho CD znst choose axocg aof general lines of actionnone of which is without hazard

'Cpentrj? to the Right." The CD could attemptcnovernnent generally rightist inD cabinet accepting external rightist supportthe prosont Tambronl government) or with one in which the

Tbe current disposition of party strength in tbo Chacbcr of Deputies reading from left to right isi Cciaaunists (PCI) ill Henni Socialiststemccratic Socialistsepublicans (FfiT)hristian Doraocrats, Liberalscnarchlets (FDI) 2h, Seo-Fnscisto (rEl) 2u, Others S,

rigbtAot pnrtloa axe (specifically included. Tola coureo would certainly Qppoal to acme CD leaders, pceoihv Acoludlne Tarfwool who. despite Ma past supportoft-center formula, might follow thla course to perpetuate himself ln office. Howevwr,if considerable influence and indueernenta were brought toreponderant number of the CD deputies, already nervous over their party's popular Image, will almost certainly demand that the stigma of fascist support be removed as scon aa possible. Thus we consider it unlikelyightist-oriented government could be long sustained except by extra-censtitutional near.a.

7. Footoration cf tbo Center. Efforts to patch ovar the cleavages which have developed within tbo CD and to restore tte unity of tho centerhole will almost certainly be made. However, we seriously question whether tho status quo ante can in fact be restoredexcept peeslhly mider extreme and sustained fear of the altemativce. Restoration of the center vouldudden reversal of long-operative divergenter circumstances in which personal aninceltide among the center laadors areigh pitch. D decision to close ranks would est long satisfy those vho fearontinuation on dead conter wouldurther stagnation of internal policy and vould

progressively sap popular support for ths party. econciliation of tea PLI and the FSDI at this stage would appear to be even core difficult to achieve in view cf the Increasingly conservative attitude adopted by theduring tho lest year and tho growing interest the FSDI has displayed in closer association with the PSI.

8. The "Openfjfr to the Left." Such nan as President Gronchi, ex-Premier Panfani, and CD Secretary Moro, rofleeting the probable desiresajority of the CD rank-and-file, will probablyto favor developmentD-led left-center government which enjoys external Socialist supporta solution which is being Oggresfively encouraged by the FSDI and tho Ffll. Henri, for his part, has thus far appeared willing to commit tba Scoialists to supportovernment by abstaining on important Chaaber votes, provided that it pushed ahead with liberal, social, and economic legislation and did not insistlear-cut Socialist brook with tha FCI in all respects. Such an arrangement wouldarliamentary basisD effort to restore its popular inagearty of moderate roforra and wouldoundation for additional efforts to rid the PSI of its Comxunlst ties and rehabilitate itesponsible democratic party.

the right wing of the CD will almostita all-out opposition toor-tula, threatening

that if necessary it would walk cut an masse, thereby cplltting" tbe party and possibly bringing downcvornrasni in the process.

It is uncertain, hew rcany cf theD deputies associated with the right wing would in fact Jeopardize their positions and prerogatives by carrying cuthreat. Although conservative elements in ths Vatican have been prominent among those opposing an opening to the left, it isncertain whether the Pope would wish to push matters so far as to risk splitting the Christian Democrats. Nevertheless, the dangeralkout by the right,umber of the more prominent CD leaders. Is clearly one to be reckoned with. Indeed, there is seme danger (discussed ir. paragraphelow) that an embittered right (Including botes CD members) mi&ht take even mere drastic action if it feltunable to block an opening to the left. AtSI-

supported government would be subjected to heavy and possibly disabling preosure from the right,

the earns time, the possibility cannot beNer.nl'a present pose of respectable moderation is agambit primarily aimed at encouraging the breakup of

tho CD and thus opening tho way far PSI (or PSX-HJI) declination cf Italy's domestic and foreign policies. Even if thla should prove to be the case and Kenni later sought to raise tho ante for his support, the CC would beetter position toeppeal to tbe electorateew mandate of theirn any case, however, ttore would alao be Eoce risk that the acceptance of the PSIore or less legitimate partner might leadhift of popular opinion and power further to tbe left*

11. Msg Elections. If all else fails. President Groixhl may feel obliged to call national elections in an effort to break the existing stales0,to of political forces. However, the center parties are not new anxious to put their somewhat bru>ed popular imageublic test, and strong preasurea will probably bo brought to bear againstove. Gronehl, himsolf, has no illusions about his own .chances for reelection to the Presidency in the event that CD parliamentary strength (and especially that of its center-left faction) io reduced in an election, end probably hopes to delay until tbe electoral prospects of tbe CD appear brighter than they do new. Moreover, he probably has little real confidence that tho solectionew parliament will greatly facilitate hia task of obtaining leaders capable of forming a

governmentorking prrlianeatery majority. The indica-fcious are that early now elections, while strengthening the

position of the extremes (and especially theaild not sufficiently alter the balance tolear-cut solution to the crisis.

Solo of the Political ExtroTes

articularly serious aspect of the present crisis is the growing reativeness and assertiveresa of the extreme right. If the trend within the Christian Democratic Partyiaison with the PSI becomes more pronouncedorontinued Impasse should appear toerious breakdown ofonoMicing or popular confidencotherenmber of figures on the right who night be tempted to exploit the situation and seise control of the governnent illegally. Although there arexcrete evidences of coup activities In Italy at tbe accent, euch solutions have been rumored for some time. Indeed, Tanbrcni, hirwclf, who Is probably Italy's most skillful opportunist, miglit use bis present control of go7crtrront machinery to consolidate his power by extra-legal mesns. Furthermore, the public'swith ineffective center governments over tho past toj

years night keep Initial popular opposition tocremlninun, especially if it were advertised as an end to irrxoilian, Hcvsver, any rightist teisurc cf power, forcibly cr otherwise, would probably require the elisrlnation or neutrallza-ticn of President Grcncbi. More ir^crtantly, it would probably drivo the bulk of the CD, and most othsr center elements, into opposition along-side the left.

The Corjcanistu are unlikely to take any drastic action to influence tbe situation at this stage. For tbe moment thoy idll probably continue to concentrate on exploiting their opportunities for discrediting and discomfiting tho government and its CD leadership, asaiiuCillB quietly attempting to head off any real accommodation botween tho CD and tho FSl/althcugh thoy have officially endorsed the conceptenter-left government enjoying Socialist support, probably fcr tactical reasons. While they would attempt to exploit tho creation ofovernMntictory for tho left they would at tho sa*ce tine seek to uoxlersrlno it, lest it weaken their appeal as tbe party of reform, and result in their policical isolation. Should tho present political impasse beCcce acre critical, the Cocmnl pts might smjte soze preparations fcr direct political action, but would prcotbly

be restrained from strikes and deccnstraticcs by the fact tbit they lack tbe necesesry atror.gth and discipline to seize power and would probobly fearightist coup. However, if political chaos extendedong period, or if tho right did move (cr appeared to bo aoout to novo) to capture pewor, tho old PSI-rCT pact would alncet certainly be quickly revivedigorous popular front movement would soon bo constituted. Under those circumstances the reunited left would sooner or lator directly challenge the authority of any rightist government, probebly in tbo streets.

Tho Cutlock

lb,. Italy thuseriod of severe tension, possibly threatening the existence of ths regime. Although installation of tho Tambroni government may permit the crisis to drag on into fall without comingead egain, existing political animosities cculd destroy hit) government at any time, and In anyecisive resolution of tbe crisis probably cannot te deferred for moreew months withoutollapse of Italian parliamentary democracy. Me believe it unlikely that the old centor coalition can be reconstituted and revitalized. Final

resolution of tbe crisis probablyasic shift in political power tumxO either tba left cr the right. Creationontor-left government would provide Italy atair chance ofew political ooullibrluia with prospects for aolid social progress. However, it would risk splitting tha CD and arousing bitter opposition fron tho right and right center, and it Eight also open the wayurther trocd to the left iu Italian politics. Cn the other hand, failure to achieveolution rculd result in continuing political paralysis beneficial only to tho extremes cf right and left. In these circumstances theould probably grew increasingly adventurous and eight attempt to eeize powerither toove to tbe left, or to fill the vacuum created by the disarray of tho CD. For its part, the PSI would probably then be driven back into clcse alliance with the CoszautLrito to escape isolation. FOR THE DCAPD OF NATICtKL ESTIMATES

ADDOT SMITH Acting Chairman

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