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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For most of the 1980s, Italy was governed by the pentapartito: a coalition made up Christian Democracy, Socialists, Social Democrats, Republicans, and Liberals. Its birth was due to the collapse of the “Historical Compromise” between the DC and the Communists, and the ensuing search for an alternative configuration. The pentapartito years were marked by the slow decline of the DC and the Communists, and the concomitant rise in importance of other parties, especially of the Socialists. Party leader Craxi rebranded the party, abandoning Marxism and cementing his own leadership, without however managing to grow the party into a real competitor to the DC or the Communists. Pentapartito governments presided over significant economic growth but infighting between parties and their dependence on public spending for patronage meant that no structural reforms were carried out. More broadly the period marked the inability of the political system to renew itself.

Keywords: coalition government, Historical Compromise, Communism, Bettino Craxi, patronage, Christian Democracy, Socialists, Social Democrats, Republicans, Liberals

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