chapter  16
25 Pages

The triumph of ‘Low Politics’

This chapter is about the political system of Republican Italyafter 1948. I have already discussed the Constitution adopted in that year, and how it provided for weak government (§15.6); and I have also described how the ‘Red Threat’ came to dominate domestic and international politics in 1947-48 (§15.7). Thereafter the Communists were excluded from government, despite their anti-Fascist record; the Christian Democrats, permanently in power from December 1945, set up a new conservative regime, respectable and quietist. It was a regime of ‘Low Politics’, like that of parliament and local government in the nineteenth century: it practised the politics of compromise and patronage, of temporary deals and temporary governments, of granting favours and buying support, and of political ‘interference’ in administration. Many Italians, therefore, regarded it as inherently corrupt, just as their nineteenth-century predecessors had done.