Italy Between 1979 and 1992

The Moro affair marks the beginning of the terrorist crisis, hit by more effective repressive action, but also the end of the government’s experience of national solidarity: while the armed party is raging in the country, the PCI leaves the majority causing the fall of the Andreotti government. The early political elections of 1979 penalized the Communist Party, object of criticism from the right and left, and its outgoing votes benefited the radicals. This creates the conditions for a return to a new phase of center-left governments, based on the alliance between the DC and the PSI. The executive chaired by A. Forlani, author of the ‘preamble’ at the 14th National Congress of the DC which excludes any agreement with the PCI, is overwhelmed by scandals, including that of P2, a Masonic lodge with subversive purposes.

In 1981 for the first time since 1945 a layman becomes president of the Council, the exponent of the PRI G. Spadolini, who extends the government to the liberals. His government tries to change the fight against the mafia by sending General CA Dalla Chiesa to Palermo as super-prefect, distinguished in the fight against terrorism, who is assassinated in Palermo a few months after taking office (1982).

According to, the sharp defeat in the early elections of 1983 suffered by the DC made it possible for B. Craxi to rise to power; a largely renewed PSI achieves significant electoral success and its leader, since 1976, the first president of the Socialist Council in Italian history, gives life to the republic’s longest-running executive until then (1983-87). In a period of economic recovery, which began to become intense in the middle of the decade, Craxi achieved some successes in the fight against inflation and in containing labor costs through the reduction of the escalator (definitively abolished in 1992). In February 1984 the new concordat between the State and the Church was signed; with it Catholicism ceases to be considered the state religion. Following conflicts that broke out between the DC and the PSI, President F. Cossiga, who succeeded Pertini in 1985, in 1987 called early political elections, which saw the entry of environmentalists, the Greens, into Parliament. The new progress of the socialists increases the already high level of conflict between the two main government parties. The weak government of the Christian Democrat G. Goria (July 1987-April 1988) – during which referendums are held that effectively ban nuclear power plants, with enormous future repercussions on energy policy – is replaced by that of the DC secretary, C. De Mita ; not even this government, however, is able to tackle the most urgent problem, the reform of the institutions, of which De Mita is one of the most tenacious supporters in relation to the hypothesis of alternating government. To face the problem of foreign immigration, especially clandestine, which has become increasingly acute,

The growing inability of the political system to put a limit on corruption, linked to the practice of subdivision of power, contributes to the spread in the South, but not only in it, of the mafia and other criminal organizations that take social control of entire areas of the country, strengthened by the economic power achieved through drug trafficking, kidnappings, extortion. The administrative vote of 1990 saw the phenomenon of local leagues, the bearers of an anti-centralist and anti-tax program, explode in the North in open protest against traditional parties.

In January 1991 the Parliament approved the participation of the Italy to military operations in Iraq in the Gulf War and for the first time after the Second World War the country finds itself involved, albeit to a very limited extent, in a war affair. The following month the majority of the PCI, hit by the effects of the disintegration of the Soviet world, proceeded to dissolve the party and found the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS); a minority opposes it, giving life to the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC).

Italy Between 1979 and 1992