After World War II ended, King Viktor Emanuel
III abdicated in 1946 in favor of his son Umberto II.
After a referendum given to the supporters of the
republic's majority, the king left Italy, which was
proclaimed republic in June 1946.
Italy chose early to participate in Western
cooperation and joined the Defense Alliance NATO and the
Council of Europe in 1949.
The first government of the Republic was led by
Alcide de Gasperi of the Christian Democratic Party
(DC). The government also included the Communist Party (PCI).
Gaspari came to play a prominent role in the ongoing
work to strengthen cooperation in Western Europe, which
led to the formation of the Coal and Steel Community in
1952. This first developed into the EC and then to the
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Italy. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
With the help of US support, the Marshall Aid, the
Italian post-war economy could be built and the
foundation laid for a record annual growth of over eight
percent in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Italian
industrial production rose rapidly during this period.
However, it was mainly northern Italy that was
industrialized, while the southern parts of the country
remained disadvantageous despite various support
measures. Large parts of the population therefore
applied to the country's northern and central parts or
During the 1970s, the economy was characterized by
high unemployment, high inflation and low growth, partly
as a result of the oil crisis of 1973. The industry
faced serious problems and the state took over broad
industrial sectors, such as in the 1930s.
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, terrorist
groups, both right-wing and left-wing extremist, carried
out attacks on the government and government. The
violent era went by the name "BlyŚren" (Anni di piombo).
The violence reached its peak in 1978, when the
Christian Democrats' leader and former Prime Minister
Aldo Moro was kidnapped and murdered by the Marxist Red
Christian Democratic Domination
Throughout the postwar period until the early 1990s,
Christian Democrats dominated political life in Italy.
The party formed the focal point of each of Italy's many
governments after the Second World War. Nothing
important at national level could be achieved without
the party taking part.
Until the early 1960s, the position of the Christian
Democrats was strongest. The party retained government
power in coalition with other parties. Thereafter, the
influence of the Christian Democrats weakened somewhat,
but they continued to govern the short-lived coalition
governments that succeeded. In the 1976 election, the
Communist Party received almost as many votes as the
Christian Democrats, which caused concern in some
In 1981, a secret order society (Masonic Lodge) P2
(Propaganda Due) was revealed with prominent politicians
and economists as members. P2 had ties to criminal
forces and had as a plan to stop the communists and take
over power if the left had too much to say.
In 1981, Italy received for the first time a
non-Christian Democratic Prime Minister, Giovanni
Spadolini from the Liberal Republican Party, who led a
After the 1983 election Bettino Craxi from the
Socialist Party (PSI) took over as head of government.
His coalition lasted until 1986 and thus became the
longest-lasting in Italy since the Second World War.
During the rest of the 1980s, short-term coalition
The economy was much more stable than politics.
Throughout the 1980s, Italy enjoyed steady economic
growth of three to four percent annually and industrial
production steadily increasing.
The Communist Party's support began to decline, and
the fall of communism in Eastern Europe from 1989 to
1991 helped the party - which, much earlier, to some
extent distanced itself from Moscow - adopted a
social-democratic orientation. In 1991, the Communist
Party changed its name to the Democratic Left Party. A
minority broke out and formed the more Orthodox Party of
Reconstructed Communism (PRC).
The 1992 parliamentary election was a defeat for both
the Christian Democrats and the Democratic Left Party.
The Socialist Party led by Giulio Amato formed
government with the support mainly of Christian
Democrats, and economic austerity was followed by major
The politicians and the mafia
In 1992, a national scandal developed that shook
Italy for years under the designation mani
pulite (clean hands). Hundreds of
politicians, mostly Christian Democrats and socialists,
were accused of corruption, including taking bribes in
exchange for large public construction contracts. Many
well-known business leaders were arrested for
participation. Among the accused were Socialist leader
Bettino Craxi and Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti,
who has been prime minister seven times.
Following the 1993 referendums, the constitution was
amended to prevent similar scandals in the future. The
government was replaced by an expedition minister led by
former Governor of the Bank Carlo Ciampi. Craxi and
Andreotti were tried, and because of the scandals, both
the Christian Democratic Party and the Socialist Party
Alongside the corruption scandals, the fight against
the mafia, which has grown into a multinational
multibillion movement, intensified mainly through drug
trafficking. In 1986, 350 mafia members had been
convicted of testimony from a defender. When the
prosecutors who led the investigations, Giovanni Falcone
and Paolo Borsellino, were murdered in 1992, the efforts
were sharpened. Several mafia bosses were arrested.
Former Prime Minister Andreotti was indicted in 1993
for conspiring with the mafia and for ordering the
murder of a journalist who would reveal the mafia
contacts. Andreotti was acquitted, then sentenced to 24
years in prison and acquitted again (2003) for lack of
Berlusconi gains power
Before the 1994 parliamentary elections, the
financier Silvio Berlusconi had launched a new
right-wing party, Forza Italia ("Hello Italy"). Together
with the National Alliance - heirs to Italy's
neo-fascist party - and the Northern Italian movement
Federation Nord (Lega Nord), Berlusconi formed a
Valallian called the Freedom Alliance.
Left and center parties also formed alliances due to
new electoral laws (see Political system).
After all the scandals that stained the political
establishment, Berlusconi radiated success and change.
Heja Italy won the election and formed a coalition
government, which, however, was characterized by
In the meantime, the trials and investigations of the
old political establishment within the large corruption
investigation Mani pulite continued. Bettino Craxi, who
moved to Tunisia, was sentenced in his absence for
various crimes to a total of 26 years in prison.
Berlusconi's plans for reforms in the expensive
pension system led to protests and demonstrations. He
was also questioned because of bribery charges and as a
major owner of media companies. After less than a year,
the government of Berlusconi fell.
The 1996 election was won by the center-left parties'
new alliance Olive Tree. New head of government became
economics professor and former Christian Democrat Romano
Prodi, but his government fell after a year due to
internal disagreement on tax increases and budgetary
The leader of the Left Democrats (formerly the
Democratic Left Party) Massimo D'Alema became new prime
minister and thus the country's first head of government
with a background in the Communist Party. D'Alema
resigned soon, but the Olive Tree Alliance retained the
government for a full term without re-election,
something new in Italy.
Berlusconi back in 2001
The 2001 parliamentary election was a clear victory
for Silvio Berlusconi's right alliance, now called the
House of Liberty. He again formed government with Forza
Italia, the National Alliance and Lega Nord and the
Center Party Center Union (UDC).
The coalition became the most persistent since World
War II, despite the fact that Berlusconi could not
fulfill the election promises of major tax cuts and new
jobs. His attempts to liberalize the labor market were
met by protests, his media ownership was questioned and
proposals for amended media rules triggered a conflict
with state broadcaster RAI. At the same time, Berlusconi
fought against the judiciary, which investigated him for
tax, bribery and other fraud.
The government was also weakened by internal
fighting, when Lega Nord demanded more autonomy for
northern Italy. Economic stagnation and Berlusconi's
support for the US war in Iraq increased public
dissatisfaction. After a setback in the regional and
local elections in 2005, Berlusconi resigned but
returned to power at the forefront of a new coalition.
Prodi wins 2006
The 2006 election was very even. Romano Prodi's new
center-left alliance, the Union, received 49.8 percent
of the votes for the Chamber of Deputies against 49.7
for the Government Alliance Freedom House. Thanks to a
new electoral system (see Political system), the left
still got a clear overweight mandate in Parliament's
House of Commons, but only a few seats in the Senate.
Prodi formed a government with ministers from nine
parties, mainly from the Left Democrats and another
left-wing party, La Margherita, but also two Communist
parties. It became difficult to keep the coalition
together, which disagreed, not least about economic
In order to strengthen the political center-left,
Prodi and other Union leaders in 2007 formed a joint
party, the Democratic Party in which both the Left
Democrats and La Margherita formed. However, Prodi lost
his weak majority in the Senate and resigned in 2008.
Berlusconi is coming again
The new election in April 2008 seemed to change the
political landscape after years of political chaos and
fragmentation. Only six parties or alliances plus a
couple of regional parties took place in both chambers
of Parliament; before the election there were 26. For
the first time since World War II, the Communists ended
up outside Parliament.
The election was won by Berlusconi's new right-wing
Alliance People of Liberty in collaboration with Lega
Nord and a Sicilian party. A coalition between the
people of Liberty and Lega Nord took office.
Berlusconi's third term as prime minister led to
growing conflict in society and ended in political and
financial crisis. Berlusconi was charged with tax fraud,
fraudulent accounting and multiple cases of bribery. To
avoid being brought to justice, he passed a law on
protection against prosecution for, among others, the
head of government and the president. The Constitutional
Court later repealed the law. Anger in the community
grew as the limitation period for crime was lowered to
benefit Berlusconi, and as his outbursts of young girls
became a media outlet.
Measures against immigration
Berlusconi had made a choice to fight crime and
associated it with increased illegal immigration. The
government passed a "security package", which was aimed,
among other things, at Roma and others without a
residence permit. In addition, the penalty for illegal
immigration was sharpened.
The measures received harsh criticism from several
directions. At the same time, the country's economic
problems accelerated in the wake of the international
financial crisis. A savings plan was adopted to reduce
the growing budget deficit, which led to giant protests
and partial riots with demands for Berlusconi's
The economic crisis worsened despite several new
savings packages. The country's problems were considered
to be mainly political, and the demands for a change of
power grew. Europe's confidence in the Italian
government's ability declined. The IMF and the EU
demanded quarterly monitoring of Italy's budgetary
measures, stock markets fell and interest rates on
Italian government bonds hit record levels in November.
As the situation worsened, Berlusconi began to lose
support in Parliament. Hoping to win time to gather
their forces, Berlusconi promised to step down after
Parliament adopted the savings and reforms that the
Eurogroup called for. However, President Napolitano
immediately addressed him and gave the government
mission to the economist and former EU Commissioner
Mario Monti, who in November 2011 formed an expert
government with the task of regaining Europe's
confidence in Italy's economy.
Monti at the helm
The Monti government immediately announced new budget
austerity measures and measures against political
benefits, tax fraud and corruption. Proposals were
submitted regarding tax increases, increased retirement
age and deregulation. A labor market reform was launched
that would create new jobs for young people and women,
but at the same time make it easier to dismiss
The two major parties, Berlusconi's People of Liberty
and the Democratic Party, supported Monti in Parliament
despite opposing ideological principles against several
of the government's reforms. The decontamination of the
economy was seen as a necessary evil, and the parties
preferred that an expert government be affected by the
worst popular criticism.
Europe's financial markets reacted positively to
Monti's reforms, but at home the new government was met
with nationwide protests. In the May 2012 local
elections, the left and protest parties were successful.
Many protest voices went to the blogger and comedian
Beppe Grillo's new party Five Star Movement.
Battle for the 2013 elections
The support for the disputed austerity led to
internal conflicts in both major parties before the
parliamentary elections in February 2013. Deeply, there
was also deep conflict within Berlusconi. Strong forces
worked for a new and younger leadership, while
investigations showed that the party would get more
votes with a 77-year-old Berlusconi in the lead.
The election resulted in an unclear position in
Parliament. The Democratic Party's left-wing Alliance
Italy won the joint best by barely a marginal election
to the House of Commons. The alliance gained 29.5
percent while Berlusconi's center-right alliance won
29.1 percent. Monti's Middle Alliance, Monti's agenda
for Italy, received only one tenth of a vote.
The five-star movement became the largest single
party in terms of voting. The party got 25.6 percent of
the vote, against 25.4 for the Democratic party, but the
Democratic party got the most mandate when the election
system was designed so that the winning alliance
automatically got a majority of the mandate in the lower
house. In the Senate, none of the alliances succeeded in
winning a majority, giving the Five Star Movement the
role of tongue on the scale.
The election result meant that no bloc could form a
government with control over both chambers of
After a series of tours, a historically broad
coalition government was formed at the end of April with
both the left and the right: the Democratic Party, the
People of Liberty and Mario Monti's middle alliance. New
head of government became Enrico Letta of the Democratic
Party. Beppe Grillo's protest party The five-star
movement, which refused to cooperate with the other
parties, was now placed without influence.
Judgments against Berlusconi
The formation of the unity government brought
Berlusconi back to the main stage of politics and, with
Berlusconi, the legal processes also returned. In June
2013, Berlusconi was convicted of paying for sex with an
underage Moroccan girl and also abusing her position as
head of government by influencing the police to release
her after she was arrested for mockery. However,
Berlusconi appealed and was eventually acquitted by the
In another case, Berlusconi was really sentenced. In
August 2013, the Supreme Court upheld a previous
sentence of four years in prison against Berlusconi for
tax offenses. The prison sentence was shortened and
would be converted into house arrest or community
service. The ruling also included a ban on holding
public office, but the Supreme Court ruled that it would
be investigated further.
After the final ruling in the tax case, the
Democratic Party demanded that Berlusconi leave his seat
in the Senate, but he refused. The Berlusconi party
senators declared in September that they would resign if
Berlusconi was voted out of parliament and Berlusconis
withdrew his five ministers from the government. Italy
was now facing political chaos again, while the economy
continued to decline and government debt grew.
Prime Minister Letta decided to try to take back the
initiative by holding a vote of confidence in
Parliament. Ahead of the September vote, around twenty
members of Berlusconi's party rebelled and declared that
they would support the government. Faced with the threat
that his party would burst, Berlusconi himself fell ill
at the last minute and voted for the government.
But the people of Freedom nevertheless burst when
Berlusconi a few months later re-launched their old
party Heja Italy. One of Berlusconi's close allies,
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, chose to go his own
way with his supporters and formed a new party, the New
Center Right. Heja Italy went into opposition, while the
New Center Right supported the Latvian government, which
thus gained a clear majority.
In November 2013, the Senate voted to exclude
Berlusconi from the House because he was convicted of
tax offenses (see above). As a result, Berlusconi also
lost his parliamentary immunity. In May 2014, Berlusconi
started her community service at a dementia nursing
Letta went strong from the power measurement with
Berlusconi but the problems were not over. The economy
continued to shrink in 2013 and the government faced
increasingly harsh criticism for failing to push through
the necessary economic and political reforms. Confidence
in Letta also fell within the Democratic Party and in
early 2014, Letta was outsmarted by the newly appointed
party leader Matteo Renzi, who has built up his career
as mayor of Florence. In February, Renzi became head of
government for a center-left coalition that promised a
wide range of reforms. The coalition included, among
others, the New Center Right formed by defectors from
the former head of government and the media magnate
Silvio Berlusconi's right alliance.
Renzi loses support
When Renzi took power, he had two goals above others:
to get growth going and to reform the political system
so that it would be easier to form stable governments.
At the time of power, the economic situation
continued to be poor, with shrinking gross domestic
product and record high unemployment. The new government
almost immediately presented an economic stimulus
package and later introduced a new labor market law,
which among other things meant that job security was
relaxed so that it became easier for employers to
dismiss staff. The new law triggered widespread protests
across the country.
The disputed Labor Market Act, combined with
continued weak economic development, was one of the
reasons why the government began to lose support in
2015, while the opposition movement, the Five Star
Movement, was able to restore its credibility following
the backlash of the 2013 election. one night was forced
to appoint over 160 completely inexperienced MEPs.
The government also took on the task of reforming the
electoral law that has been in force since 2006 but
which was sentenced by the Constitutional Court after
the 2013 election (see Political system). A new
electoral law was passed with a "threshold" inserted for
the percentage of votes a party needed to be awarded a
bonus mandate, but the law was replayed when Renzi
failed to push through a reform of the constitution to
change the Senate's duties and influence. The plan was
to reduce the role of the Senate in legislation so that
future governments would only need to control the House
of Commons to get their bills passed, which would make
it easier to govern. However, the proposal's critics
believed that Renzi's intention was to strengthen his
Despite some opposition from some senators, the
proposal was approved by Parliament, but it was rejected
in a referendum in early December 2016. The opposition
was gathered on the no-side, which made the vote appear
more like a yes or no to the government than to the
For Renzi, who put his political future at risk
through the proposal, the outcome became a death blow.
Renzi had promised to step down if he did not get
through his reform. When the result was clear, he filed
his resignation application. The opposition immediately
demanded a new election. In mid-December, an expedition
government with Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni took
office as new prime minister, pending parliamentary
elections. First, however, the electoral system needed
to be changed so that it became uniform for both
parliament's chambers (see Political system).
Only in October 2017 did the Gentiloni government
succeed in pushing a vote in parliament through repeated
vote of confidence. The law means that the mandate in
the parliament's chambers is distributed on the basis of
a mixture of majority elections and proportional system,
which favors parties forming coalitions. The populist
Five-Star Movement, which unwillingly wanted to
cooperate with other parties and who was highest in
opinion polls, considered itself discriminated against
by the new law.
A few months after the election law was passed, the
government decided that elections to Parliament would be
held on March 4, 2018.