chapter  20
38 Pages

The collapse of the ‘First Republic’?

The huge budget deficits of the late 1980s, and the need to com-pete in wider markets, had dramatic political consequences. Italy’s post-war political system, based on constant concessions and on patronage, could no longer be funded. And the end of the Cold War deprived Italy’s post-war rulers of vital foreign support. In 1992-93 the old parties collapsed, leaving much political uncertainty and threatening even the unity of the country. Subsequently tenuous coalitions of new parties of the ‘Centre-Left’ and of the ‘Centre-Right’ alternated in government, but neither provided effective policies nor even stability, and new international factors left Italy even more exposed.