Italy Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Italy. According to Countryaah.com, Italy Independence Day is June 2. Italy’s political life was marked by the controversial Prime Minister and businessman Silvio Berlusconi. His impulsive and undiplomatic leadership style created concern when, on July 1, it was Italy’s turn to be the EU Presidency. Immediately a serious diplomatic schism arose between Germany and Italy when Berlusconi, during the initial interrogations of the European Parliament, compared a German member to a Nazi camp guard. It was only when Berlusconi apologized to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that the matter was dismissed.

In November, it was time again for Berlusconi to create disgust within the EU when, during a Rome summit on Russia, he chose to go against the Union’s common line on two issues. On the one hand, he defended Russian President Vladimir Putin against criticism of human rights violations in Chechnya, saying that these were false “stories” spread by European media, and on the other, he dismissed the EU’s fears that the newly-arrested oligarch Michail Chodorkovsky would have been detained for political reasons by the Putin administration.

During the year, the trips around the bribery trial against Berlusconi also continued. The prosecution involved bribery in connection with the takeover of a state food company in the 1980s. A convict could mean the end of Berlusconi’s political career. In 2002, the Prime Minister’s Party Forza Italia in Parliament had passed a law that allowed a case to be re-examined elsewhere “if there is reason to believe that the judgments were impartial”. Berlusconi, who claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated and that the Milan court was “left-wing”, wanted the trial moved to Brescia. However, he encountered a patrol when the Supreme Court in January rejected the request. The trial began in April, and when a month later Berlusconi appeared in court, he stated that Romano Prodi,

The indictment increased the conflict between the two politicians and affected cooperation in the EU later in the year. To avoid Berlusconi possibly being convicted in the midst of the Italian EU presidency, the trial was suspended in June after Parliament decided on immunity from prosecution for the country’s five highest political officials, including the prime minister, as long as they held their posts.

In October, the Supreme Court upheld the prison sentence against the seven-time Prime Minister and former Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti for ordering the murder of a journalist in 1979. The acquittal occurred in the absence of evidence. The journalist would just reveal alleged evidence that Andreotti was cooperating with the mafia. In 2002, Andreotti was sentenced to 24 years in prison for the murder. He was also released during the year from suspicions of contacts with the mafia, but the sentence only applied to the time after 1980.

In March, Italian television gave RAI its first female chairman, Lucia Annunziata. The year before, the entire corporate board had resigned in protest of Berlusconi’s attempt to increase its influence over its work. However, Annunziata resigned later in the year in protest of a new media law that was believed to have been added to benefit Berlusconi’s media empire Mediaset.

The summer was unusually hot in Italy, where a heat wave required at least 4,000 lives.

In November, 19 Italians were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a base of Italian military police in the city of Nasiriya in southern Iraq. Italy contributed, at the time of the attack, some 2,400 men to the US-led international peacekeeping force in the country. Prime Minister Berlusconi said that Italy would continue to contribute with the squad despite the loss.

The new women’s movement

“Movimento della liberazione della donna”, MLD, was developed in close contact with the small but very active Partito Radicale. The working class women have long fighting traditions, including from land occupations and from the resistance work against Nazi fascism. This was the basis of PCI’s women’s organization UDI, Unione Donne Italiane. But only with radical feminism did a real women’s movement develop. It occupied a strategically important position in the 1970’s and was among the most viable in Europe.

In 1974, an attempt to divorce was attempted to be repealed by referendum. Reactionary Catholics allied with the fascists. PCI fought back. The party was afraid of creating a deep divide in the people. But the battle ended as a great victory for the progressive forces. In the issue of abortion, too, PCI was very cautious, but the party was eventually forced into parliament to support women’s demands.

The ideological dominion of the Catholic Church

After Rome was taken from the State of the Church, the “prisoner of the Vatican” (pope) maintained a formal protest attitude towards the Italian state – until the Lateran Pact with Mussolini in 1929. This covenant regulating the relationship between church and state gave the church great influence in matters such as teaching, marriage, birth control and abortion. It is almost a paradox that it is the struggle of women who, perhaps more than anything else, has weakened the ideological dominion of the Catholic Church. Traditionally it is the women who have been most strongly subordinate to the church.

But there have also been major changes within the Catholic Church. Progressive and social trends broke through at the Second Vatican Council under Pope John in 1962 and opened the way for a left turn in the Catholic masses.

The death sentence over DC

According to the 1948 Constitution, the President of the Republic is elected for a seven-year term and is at the same time Head of State. He has tasked with appointing the head of government – the prime minister – to have support in both chambers of parliament. Until the election of the socialist Sandro Pertini as president in 1978, all presidents had belonged to DC. The tradition was resumed with the election of Francesco Cossiga in 1985.

The political system proved to be very stable in its form, but very unstable in its content. In most cases, the cabinets only lasted a few months despite previous intense negotiations. The only exception was the Bettino Craxis government, which remained in power from April 83 to March 87. In May 81, the Arnaldo Forlani government was brought down when it emerged that it and its supporters had been linked to the illegal P2 lodge. It was followed by a one-year Republican government.

Political instability, astronomical right-wing deficits on state finances, as well as the influence of the mafia and camorra helped develop the idea of ​​constitutional reform.

In February 1991, in the aftermath of the collapse of Eastern Europe, the PCI decided to transform into the Democratic Left Party (PDS) and apply for inclusion in the Socialist Socialist International. In December of that year, a group of dissidents formed Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC).

At the end of 91, the contradictions in DC and between President Cossiga and PDS leader, Achille Occhetto, worsened. In February, the president and prime minister dissolved parliament and postponed elections prematurely. In the April 92 election, DC lost the majority in parliament for the first time since 46. Two days later, Andreotti filed his and the government’s resignation petition. In late May, Judge Giovanni Falcone – the # 1 enemy of the mafia – was killed in Sicily. This was a factor in why Christian Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was elected president. Two months after the Falcone killing, the Mafia attacked his successor, Paolo Borsellino, who was leading the investigation into organized crime.

In October 1992, an economic crisis package was launched, triggering a general strike involving 10 million workers.

Prosecutor Antonio di Pietro initiated investigations that year, revealing a complicated system of illegal operations involving politicians from across the political spectrum, capitalists and the mafia. In the course of 93, lawsuits were filed against over 1000 politicians and capitalists in the so-called “clean hands” operation. Among the accused were former prime ministers Bettino Craxi (Social Democrat) and Giulio Andreotti (Christian Democrat).

During the period 1980-92, corruption had cost the state about $ 20 billion. Due. the bribes for officials and politicians are public investment in Italy 25% more expensive than in the rest of the EU.

In April 93, the former President of the Central Bank, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was appointed prime minister. A few days later, a referendum was passed by a referendum. It paved the way for three-quarters of the seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives to be elected by a simple majority in each constituency. The last 25% had to be chosen by ratio choice.

Up until the March 94 parliamentary elections, PDS was the favorite, as it had been involved in scandals to a lesser extent than socialists and Christian democrats. Nevertheless, within a few months the media magnate Silvio Berlusconi managed to form the party “Forza Italia”. Together with Umberto Bossis Lega Nord and the neo-fascist Alianza Nacionale (AN) led by Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi gained absolute majority in parliament.

Berlusconi was named prime minister and consolidated his popularity when “Forza Italia” won the European elections. However, Lega Nord continued its criticism of Berlusconi and the right-wing AN, and this began to make government difficult. In October, the trade union opposed a pension reform proposed by the prime minister, as it would lead to a decline in benefits, increase contributions and privatize parts of the pension system. After a huge demonstration in Rome involving over 1 million people, Berlusconi was forced to withdraw his proposal. In December, Bossi withdrew its support for the Berlusconi government and it declined. Despite the league’s limited voter support, it still had 1/5 of the seats in parliament.

President Scalfaro refused to print new elections and instead appointed Berlusconi’s former finance minister, Lamberto Dini. Dini had a past as an IMF official and enjoyed greater confidence in international finance circles than his predecessor. He formed a government of technocrats – officially “apolitical”. With the support of the left, the new prime minister succeeded in introducing a new pension system and reducing the government deficit. Like its predecessor Ciampi – another technocratic prime minister who ruled in 1993-94 – Dini allied with the PDS to make financial cuts.

Italy Border Map