This chapter discusses that the most striking feature of the consolidation of democracy in post-war Italy is the length of time the process seems to have taken. A well-entrenched party state requires that parties have firm roots in society, close contacts with, or indeed the capacity to control, major social actors, and a high degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate. The case of the Communist Party's relationship with unionized labour is more ambivalent. Italian parties are almost all structured on a system of direct internal democracy which accords a large measure of decision-making authority to party executives as opposed to parliamentary leaders. The personalism of political relationships within the then liberal ruling elite, and the fragmentation and instability within its parliamentary ranks, made almost impossible the formation of lasting coalitions. The political accommodation practised by the Communist Party did not generate significant support for political forces even further to the left than the PCI itself.