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Christian Democracy: The

Abstract and Keywords

Democrazia Cristiana (DC) was the cornerstone of the First Republic. Thanks to the Communist Party’s exclusion from government, the DC was the core of government, dominating the political arena. Changes in government were often a consequence of factional struggles within the DC rather than elections. But the DC’s factionalism, fuelled by preference voting, had the effect of precluding strong individual leadership. From the 1950s, the DC effectively “occupied” the state, exerting control over its institutions and resources and directing them to fuel its own patronage networks. Yet behind the DC’s success lay the roots of its demise: its vote share declined and the corruption underpinning its patronage system proved to be its undoing with the start of the Mani Pulite investigation in 1992.

Keywords: Democrazia Cristiana, First Republic, Mani Pulite, Italian Communist Party, patronage networks

For almost half a century, since party leader Alcide De Gasperi was first named prime minister in December 1945, until the party was dissolved in January 1994, the DC (Democrazia Cristiana) was the veritable partito italiano. The DC was unmovable from power. The Cold War cleavage meant that its main adversary, the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI), the strongest communist party in Western Europe, could not provide a viable alternative. All Italian republican governments were led by the DC for 35 years (1946–81). And even when the party temporarily gave up the premiership to long-time allies in the 1980s, it still kept the largest share of seats in every government until 1993. How could a party, founded just a few years before Italy became a Republic, keep such a permanent hold on power? The DC was the plurality party in all general elections from 1946 to 1992, with an impressive average vote of 38.7 percent until 1987, and still 29.7 in 1992. This was due to three main factors: the solid anti-communist barrier it provided, the capacity to represent Italian Catholicism, and, most of all, its nature as a party of mediation, both between the deeply divided internal factions, the other parties, and society at large. Hence, the DC was not just an Italian party, but the Italian party, until it collapsed under the combined (exogenous) pressures of the fall of communism, the EU financial constraints on public spending, but especially the judicial investigations into corruption.

While other contributions in this Handbook explore the party’s hegemonic period (M. Gilbert) as personified by Alcide De Gasperi (see also Chapters 26 and 32, this volume) this chapter examines how the party became a state-centered party, while progressively losing touch with both society and the Church. Organizational and systemic elements are therefore the main focus of this chapter, which is divided into four sections. Before looking at the organization (and how the party came about), I analyze the systemic causes and consequences of the record-long party rule. Then, looking at the shifting dynamics between state, Church and society, and especially at the occupation of state resources, I argue that the DC symbolized, in a unique way, the many contradictions of Italian politics, some of which predated its birth, while others remain as peculiar DC heritages.

(p. 174) The Party of Government, with No Alternatives

The DC had many faces. Seen from abroad, the party was identified with the ambivalent perceptions that Italy commanded: a nation able to recover and prosper through a veritable economic miracle in the early 1960s, but also plagued by low social capital, endemic corruption, and, last but not least, the enduring success of many criminal organizations. In many ways, Giulio Andreotti—seven times prime minister and in Parliament from 1946 until his death in 2013 (as life senator since 1991)—personified the continuity as much as the ambiguities of DC’s power.

When the DC collapsed in 1994, several small parties fought to preserve its heritage, to no avail, despite some efforts by Forza Italia.1 In 2000, Marco Follini—later to become leader of currently the main center heir party to the DC, the UDC (Union of Center)—wrote a book that,2 in many ways, captures the multifaceted nature of the DC. For this reason, I shall use parts of it, as related to my arguments. Follini correctly put it like this: the DC was, at the same time, “the party of society, the party of the State, and the Party of the Church.”3 After having been a catch-all party ante litteram, the DC used state resources probably like no other party in Western Europe. State occupation began in the 1950s, and developed thoroughly in the following two decades. Unclear—and, most of all, unaccountable—control of state resources meant that there was never a genuine competition between parties on policy alternatives: either macro policies as those related to international affairs, or micro policies based on patronage and distribution of selective incentives dominated electoral competition during the so-called First Republic.4

DC’s predominance, and the PCI’s anti-systemic nature—as captured by Giovanni Sartori’s polarized pluralism model5—made government turnover less a consequence of electoral results than of the DC’s internal factional struggle, as channeled also by preference voting in a very proportional electoral system.6 According to Sartori, the DC was germane in differentiating polarized pluralism, Italian style, from other comparable cases belonging to the same category (the French Fourth Republic 1946–58, but also the German Weimar Republic 1919–33). Among other systemic factors, this was related to the fact that the center, as a political space in Italy, was occupied by a strong Catholic party, able to fill this central location on its own (rather than as part of a coalition). Slightly different, and more concentrated on the PCI’s ideological profile as a key factor for explaining the “imperfect bipartitism” pattern, Giorgio Galli’s analysis had a more limited theoretical leverage.7 In terms of electoral behavior, the key model was elaborated at the end of the 1970s. The progressive occupation of the state by the DC was captured by the growth of the vote of exchange at the expense of both the vote of belonging (as expressed especially in the so-called subcultures: northeast for the DC and center, or Red Zone, for the PCI) and of the vote of opinion, linked to alternative judgment on welfare, fiscal, or other policies.8

These patterns were embedded on long-term political dynamics and cultural roots. The DC was never a truly conservative party, at least if we mean by that a party which (p. 175) also aims to preserve the country’s cultural traditions and institutions. While De Gasperi was a key protagonist in the crucial phase of democratization (1943–48), his party was split on institutional solutions. The Constituent Assembly had to work in a context of deep polarization, reflected in the nature of the 1948 Constitution, which included a panoply of liberal mechanisms aimed at constraining the executive in favor of parliament (in itself structured as bicameral and redundant), in order to exorcise the resurgence of Fascism. But the roots of division went even deeper.

Italy as a state was born out of many conflicts, and Catholic opposition to the state was one of the strongest elements for its problematic consolidation. In Liberal Italy there had been no alternation either: trasformismo was the main pattern of government turnover. Italy as a Republic was born with low legitimacy, and out of excluding dynamics, rather than with the aim of a “common destiny” shared by all political parties and areas. The choice over the form of the state revealed big (and persistent) geographical divisions: in the 1946 referendum, behind an overall 54.3 percent for the Republic, as many as 85 percent of the voters supported change in the northern Trento Province, as contrasted with as few as 23.5 percent in southern Campania.9

Then, after the Constitution was born as an anti-fascist pact (which made the neo-fascist MSI an anti-system party), the political system would be marked by the 48 percent support the DC obtained in the 1948 election (see Chapter 26, this volume). The second—and indeed most relevant exclusion of a political actor (the PCI, which would increase its votes for the following 30 years)—gave the DC a key responsibility in governing the country. This lends plausibility to the legend which quotes De Gasperi as asking: “What are we going to do with all these votes?”

The first decision De Gasperi took was to govern in coalition, despite not being forced to do so by parliamentary arithmetic. And the polarized climate also affected the second key decision, that is, to look for a majoritarian mechanism to stabilize centrism in 1953.10 This was not successful and the-then so-called swindle law (legge truffa) brought De Gasperi’s leadership to an end. So the party did much with those votes, but also missed key opportunities to modernize the country.11 When the PSI entered into government in the 1960s, the patterns of DC’s predominance were set. Government instability would be triggered by factional rivalries. More generally, the DC would lack both strong leadership and concertative capacities to govern the economy while keeping an eye not just on consensus, but also on financial stability and economic modernization. Political culture also played a role: the predominance of Catholicism and Marxism made the search for reformist solutions very difficult.

Many Part(ie)s in One: A Party of Factions

The DC was, first of all, a party built on internal mediation, between the different factions, which made it resemble a rather loose assembly of different parties.12 The DC’s (p. 176) factionalization was inscribed in its genetic phase, which resulted from the concomitant efforts of several organizations. The birth of a Catholic party had proved very problematic in two previous cases. The Vatican had played a critical role in limiting the success of both Romolo Murri’s Opera dei Congressi (founded in the 1870s) and of the short-lived Italian Popular Party (PPI, 1919–26) led by Luigi Sturzo.13 De Gasperi had been PPI’s last party secretary, and he had learned important lessons from both these experiences.14 The DC was founded on the remnants of the PPI in 1942, still under fascist ruling. Along with the leaders of the former party (Popolari), all main leaders came from different organizations (mainly university students), directly mobilized by the Church.15 These components—bound together by Catholic inspiration—can be perceived as an external “source of legitimation” for the party.16 Coupled with a geographical organization based on diffusion (rather than penetration led by a single center, often supplanted by the Catholic organizations, both in voters’ mobilization and for the party’s local activities17) this meant that the party was weakly institutionalized.

The dominant coalition—that is, the actors who controlled the party’s most vital zones of uncertainty, including financing, recruitment, competency, and so on18—was dispersed, and no single actor would clearly dominate over the others for a substantial period of time.19 While De Gasperi’s role was very important in setting up the party, his leadership never went beyond the status of “situational charisma”;20 a pattern in which the leader, while symbolizing the party in the eyes of members and voters, is more constrained in the way in which he leads the party than in “pure” charisma. De Gasperi’s role as mediator between the different factions, which had emerged already in the first party congresses (despite being them formally forbidden by the party’s statute), was already apparent in the widespread opposition to his double role as party leader and premier (which he only kept for a few months).21

Hostility to the merging of party and government leadership, as emerged during De Gasperi’s tenure, was to mark the party forever: only two leaders, Amintore Fanfani (1958–59) and Ciriaco De Mita (1988–89) shortly managed to escape it. It was not incidental that these two leaders have been the most committed to organizational reforms, which have had, respectively, the aim of building a more independent organization (shedding the influence of Catholic organizations), and overcoming the power of factions, by granting more powers to regional party bodies (especially via a stratagem to detonate factional power to the advantage of the party leader). It is no coincidence that both efforts, thirty years after each other, ultimately backfired. In the first case, the big centrist dorotei faction was built (1959), and duly dominated party politics for over a decade; in the second, the end of the record-long De Mita’s party leadership (1982–89) led to the victory of “neo-doroteism.”22

Factional rule was institutionalized in the early 1960s, with the adoption of proportional rules in the election of party organs. Each faction had its own organization, stronger than the overall party structure: when the party organization is described as “federal” this meant that internal groups could establish their own relations with the external environment, often acting independently from the rest of the party. Although both the ideological and the power-oriented criteria can be found in the origins of the (p. 177) main factions,23 the former were soon replaced by the fight for power and resources, on a pattern consistent with a progressive shift from cooperative, to competitive and finally degenerative factionalism.24 At the height of internal divisions, in 1982, there were as many as 12 different factions.

Factional leaders could either be famous politicians or second- or third-rank ministers. During De Gasperi’s tenure as prime minister (1945–53), the so-called second generation of DC leaders emerged: Fanfani, Aldo Moro, and Andreotti. All in all, these leaders were presidenti del consiglio for over 18 years. Andreotti was never party secretary, but had a role in all Italian governments from 1946 to 1992, when his name also entered the list of candidates for the presidency of the Republic. While De Gasperi gave an identity to the DC and a leadership to Italy, Fanfani, Moro, and Andreotti later represented the different souls of a party which would not tolerate the emergence of a too powerful leader: “Fanfani’s organizational skills, Andreotti’s administrative capacities or the depth of Moro’s thought could have been the basis for a more consistent DC profile (but …) ended up as threats to the party’s more safe, anonymous and impersonal habits of coexistence.”25

A frequent postulate on DC’s ideology is that while the party elite often claimed it looked to the left, its electorate was mainly rightist. As a matter of fact, the DC always kept an interclassist approach, and to the right of the liberals there was no viable potential ally: when the MSI was the only party supporting Fernando Tambroni’s government in summer 1960, people took it to the street, some demonstrators were killed, and the government fell. Despite the Church’s many reservations—it was only with Second Vatican Council (1962–65) that the Church fully recognized the principle of liberal democracy—the opening to the left came to be tolerated: first with the PSI in the 1960s (in governments led first by Fanfani, then by Moro), then with the PCI’s external support to the National Solidarity governments in the second half of the 1970s (with Andreotti at Palazzo Chigi, 1976–79). More generally, given the impossibility of alternation, in Italy, left and right acquired a peculiar meaning: with parties not competing on substantive programmatic issues, patterns associated with micro policies through the use of patronage and clientelistic relations became more and more important. While this was consistent with a long tradition of patron–client relations in Italy, dating to the Liberal age, when many local notables, mainly in the underdeveloped and traditionalist south, distributed favors in exchange for votes, factional divisions exasperated this process.

The short-lived ideological nature of factional divisions also applies to Italian foreign policy, a key concern for the United States (US) in the first decade of DC’s rule.26 While never really questioning the Western alliance, leaders such as Giuseppe Dossetti and Giorgio La Pira were hostile to NATO membership, and President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi arguably cultivated “micro-Gaullist” aspirations at the turn of the 1960s (when Enrico Mattei’s Middle East policy was also controversial).27 Later, while the DC kept a rock-solid hold on the Interior Ministry, the party was keener on letting allies take up the Foreign Affairs and especially the Defense ministries.28 This was part of a difficult trading balance with the emergence of a kind of convention that saw, for many years, the cohabitation of pro-Israeli and a pro-Palestine politicians balancing Italian Mediterranean policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, or vice versa.29

(p. 178) The Shifting Balance between Church, State, and Society

DC’s power was built on mediation. The party had to struggle in the search for an adequate balance between the three different corners of its identity—Church, state and society. Although the role of the Church decreased after 1948, it never disappeared. During most of the electoral campaigns, the Vatican continued to express the desirability of the permanence of the Catholics under the DC flag, and Catholic political unity (unità dei cattolici) remained a major issue throughout the 1980s, and arguably even after.

However, Fanfani understood that the party needed an organization to limit both the influence of external supporters (not just the Church, but also the US and Confindustria) and to tame the PCI’s penetration of society via its mass-party dimension. In 1954–55 the first campaign for membership recruitment was organized, and in the 1958 general elections the party profited from new activists’ participation, which boosted them to as many as 1.4 million members, thus recovering from the 1953 result. Fanfani’s efforts were fruitful to an extent in strengthening the organization (local branches and activists’ festivals were organized, later to become Feste dell’Amicizia; never, however, reaching the scale of PCI’s Feste dell’Unità). However, a true emancipation from flanking organizations was never achieved, and these efforts (both for party organization and in building a veritable state party) also had a clear side effect. The geography of party support had already started to change in the 1958 election—a process that would speed up in the following decade: the northeast was overtaken by the south as the region where the DC electorate was most concentrated. A similar pattern of meridionalizzazione also affected party membership.30 These trends were due to the steady increase in clientelistic relations as main sources of electoral support: the party was focusing more and more on exchange votes, and the absence of any proper check on membership registers meant that a veritable rank-and-file of anime morte (dead souls) became possible.

DC’s societal links continued to be mediated by Catholic organizations, despite a growing secularization, which accelerated during the second half of the 1960s.31 With hindsight, one can argue that 1974 provided some key tests about the changing challenges the DC had to face in order to preserve its pivotal position. The (lost) referendum on divorce, in itself triggered by the Church and supported by Fanfani, showed the party had lost touch with a modernizing society. The second element was the insurgence of violence, with the Piazza della Loggia bombing (in Brescia) by extreme right terrorist groups, on a scale soon to be overtaken by the rise of Brigate Rosse, which killed Moro in 1978. The third event was the approval of the law on political parties’ public financing, which provided no effective means to avoid bribes or tackle the institutionalized system of corruption which the DC, and many other parties—with different degrees and dynamics—had by then set up. On the contrary, the law, “by establishing strict and cumbersome regulations and procedures, (. . .) also made it very difficult to provide for legal contributions.”32

(p. 179) Indeed, it is only with hindsight that one can underline these events as really significant in the history of the party. All in all, the 1970s were most of all marked by violence and social conflict, a fact that made the PCI’s parliamentary support of the National Solidarity executives more digestible to the latter party’s electorate.

More generally, it would be wrong to assume that the party became part of the state while leaving behind its function of broker between society and the state itself. The DC’s “colonization of the State,” was achieved through the expansion of the public sector. State colonization was pursued via different means, including state agencies to promote underdeveloped areas (Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, 1950), the creation of a Ministry for State Holdings (1956) and the set-up, or indeed the strengthening, of state-holding companies. In this respect, with the center-left governments (1963–68), DC’s strategies came to be shared by PSI, and other minor partners.

Research on the political economy underlines a key element of the DC’s state-centered status, not often caught by scholars focusing solely on the party. Much like political dynamics, such as the lack of alternation, so the state–entrepreneur dynamics predated the DC’s existence. Also in this regard, then, one can argue that the DC could strengthen state assets with regard to key long-term dynamics, such as early public intervention in the Italian economy, the familial model of Italian capitalism, and the fact that “banks performed the functions that should have been fulfilled by the financial markets.”33 Following Salvati,34 one can argue that industrial policies, as devised by the DC and allies since the 1960s, contributed to hampering the process of economic growth and therefore the possibility of designing strategies more aligned with other European countries. In other words, Italian state capitalism, as led by the DC and its allies since the 1960s, worsened—rather than resolving—Italy’s known structural problems: the underdevelopment of the south; the fragility of big industry, concentrated in one part of the country and largely public; the weakness of government in industrial relations, all contributed to Italian decline. This made the search for a European anchorage all the more urgent: the Maastricht Treaty was signed by Andreotti during his last spell (the seventh!) as Presidente del Consiglio. How state occupation was managed is a story often told, which nonetheless deserves some space, for at least two reasons: the way in which DC’s pervasiveness came to be shared by long-time coalition partners (and, in some ways, also by the PCI, hence the pervasiveness of partitocrazia); and the fact that partisan embeddedness in the economy was so strong that it still marks Italy today, 20 years after DC’s disappearance.

Though selecting indicators is by no means easy, and many aspects are still poorly researched, one can start from ministerial spoils. Ministers for State Holdings were DC members for 80 percent of the governments, until the ministry’s dissolution in 1992. The DC also kept a rock-solid hold on the agricultural sector, securing 97 percent of the ministries in this field, which was strategic both for the Mezzogiorno, and for providing electoral support and membership recruitment.35 More precisely, the clientelistic use of the institutions was in the hands of the local leaders of the factions (the capicorrente), who controlled the organization of the party through artificial expansion of its membership. Relations with the territory and linkage with the constituencies was held through (p. 180) the distribution of financial benefits, easily managed via the firm control of the DC on all the main institutes regulating the flux of economic aids to the south.

Research on cities like Naples and Catania showed that clientelism,36 as traditionally managed by notables, had been replaced in the Mezzogiorno by party clientelism led by capicorrente. But clientelism would not just shape local politics and the way in which the party collected the votes. Rather, it would also become a key element of the Italian welfare system: a clientelistic system based on an hypertrophic pension system,37 and on benefits for the public sector that would soon hamper public finance stability: by 1990 public debt reached 100 percent of GDP and fiscal revenues almost reached “Scandinavian levels” at around 40 percent of GDP, while quality of services remained, on average, low and geographically very differentiated. These pattern were made possible by multiple shared interests among coalition partners, but they could often also count on non-belligerency from opposition parties. In the 1970s, consociationalism “Italian style” was built on the PCI’s accommodating behavior in Parliament, as well as on its partial share of some spoils.

Following Leonardi and Wertman,38 one can also focus on three crucial sectors: the control over the public broadcasting sector (RAI); the direction of the state-holding companies; and the direction of the main Italian banks. In a nutshell, while the DC had governed public broadcasting since the beginning, in the 1980s the “political direction” of the three public channels was divided among the three main parties: RAI 1 to DC, RAI 2 to PSI, and RAI 3 to PCI.39 In the same period, the DC lost some of its control on state-holding companies. In 1992 privatizations began for IRI, Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (Institute for Industrial Reconstruction), which was the largest institute, controlling over two-thirds of state holdings; ENI, which controlled over 400 firms in the energy sector; ENEL Ente Nazionale Energia Elettrica (National Energy Trust), the State Trust which controls the sector of energy; and INA (Istituto Nazionale Assicurazioni), the biggest Italian insurance institute. However, even after the reform—which reset all the executive boards, but distributed the seats among the governmental parties—the DC was still firmly holding the key positions in all the firms.40 Finally, the party had also to give up some positions in the banking sector: while, in 1976, as many as 90 percent of the presidents belonged to the DC area, in 1992 the party still controlled 70 percent of the main Italian banks.41

Conclusion: A Party on Trial

In 1992, the Mani Pulite inquiries and the poor result in the general election marked the first signs of the DC’s crisis, which precipitated the following year. The new (and last) leadership of Mino Martinazzoli (October 1992–January 1994), clearly an outsider in the party’s dominant coalition, could not do much: despite important innovations and a radical renewal of party membership, reforms proved too late to be effective. The (p. 181) last chapter of Follini’s book refers to a party on trial. The DC was a master of mediation, but the crisis long predates its disappearance. The stickiness and immobility of the DC’s system by the 1980s—the incapacity to recognize how much society had changed in the previous two decades—were symbolized by the permanence as party leader of Arnaldo Forlani (a long-time doroteo) until after the 1992 elections. Asked by a journalist about the ineffectiveness of his reply during an interview, he famously rebuked “Did I say nothing? Well, I could keep on like this for hours.” And yet, especially for many Italians who have not experienced DC’s rule, Forlani’s most famous image comes from another “interview,” this time in a Milan tribunal. In one of the symbolic images of Tangentopoli, Forlani stood, hesitatingly and vaguely answering, almost mumbling in front of prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, who was questioning him about the DC’s involvement in illicit party financing. Despite all its shortcomings, the party deserved a better end.

For over 40 years, the DC was the cornerstone of the First Republic, a dysfunctional political system. It was the political party that most dominated the public sphere by exploiting the weakness of the state to its own benefit. This colonization of state institutions had particularly negative consequences in the south, where distrust vis-à-vis the state was traditionally higher, and where clienteles were built upon state-dependent beneficiaries, such as public officials, and state-subsidized businesses to such an extent that borders between local control of the “exchange vote” and highly successful criminal organizations such as the Sicilian Mafia, Campania’s camorra and Calabria’s ’Ndrangheta became more and more blurred. Lack of alternation meant also that parties did not compete on substantive programmatic issues. This, combined with the factionalized control over government composition—and therefore the substantial lack of direct accountability to the voter—meant that the DC institutionalized a system of using public resources without restraint, thus fuelling public debt. Indeed, while preference voting gave the appearance of creating more direct popular influence on the political process, it actually became the main mechanism through which party factions could prosper and cultivate their slice of the cake.

While the 1974 referendum on divorce had shown the extent to which the party was misinterpreting Italian modernization, those of 1991 on single preference voting and especially the 1993 referendum on electoral reform, marked significant institutional challenges to a giant with feet of clay. Almost twenty years after Pier Paolo Pasolini had evoked the need to put the DC on trial, a party born underground had to change its name and identity without having ever been in opposition. This process would leave a mark of low legitimacy both to various DC inheritors and to the party system in general. A giant first became a dwarf and then its remnants spread to the right, center, and left.42 Most voters went to the right (Forza Italia and Northern League especially), while the leaders less involved in investigations turned left. And it is no coincidence that it is on the left that two recurrent DC organizational and institutional dilemmas here analyzed—factional divisions and the “double leadership” question—are today so much affecting the life and destiny of the Partito Democratico.


(1.) C. Paolucci, “From Democrazia Cristiana to Forza Italia and the Popolo della Libertà: Partisan Change in Italy,” Modern Italy, 13, n. 4, 2008, pp. 465–480.

(2.) M. Follini, La DC. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2000.

(3.) Ibid, p. 8.

(4.) M. Cotta and L. Verzichelli, Political Institutions in Italy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

(5.) G. Sartori, Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.

(6.) G. Pasquino (ed.), Votare un solo candidato, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993.

(7.) G. Galli, Il bipartitismo imperfetto. Comunisti e democristiani in Italia. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1966.

(8.) A.M.L. Parisi and G. Pasquino, “Changes in Italian Electoral Behavior: The Relationships between Parties and Voters,” West European Politics, 1, n. 2/3, 1979, pp. 6–30.

(9.) In these two areas the DC vote, respectively, was record-high in the simultaneous vote for the Constituent Assembly, and well above average since the early 1960s. These data are just an example of the political dimension of the very resilient north–south cleavage.

(10.) G. Baldini, “The Different Trajectories of Italian Electoral Reforms,” West European Politics, 34, n. 3, 2011, pp. 644–663.

(11.) M. Salvati, Tre pezzi facili sull’Italia. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2011.

(12.) A. Zuckerman, The Politics of Faction: Christian Democratic Rule in Italy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

(13.) C. Warner, “Christian Democracy in Italy: An Alternative Path to Religious Party Moderation,” Party Politics, 18, 2, 2013, pp. 256–276.

(14.) P. Allum, “ ‘From two into one’: The Faces of the Italian Christian Democracy,” Party Politics, 3, n. 1, 1997, pp. 23–50.

(15.) On DC’s initial years see G. Galli, Storia della DC. Milan: Kaos, 2007; G. Baget Bozzo, Il Partito Cristiano al Potere, 2 vols. Florence: Vallecchi, 1977; A. Giovagnoli, Il Partito Italiano. La Democrazia Cristiana dal 1942 al 1994. Bari: Laterza, 1996.

(16.) A. Panebianco, Political Parties: Organization and Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988; originally published as Modelli di Partito. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1982.

(17.) G. Poggi (ed.), L’Organizzazione Partitica del Pci e della DC. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1968.

(19.) R. Leonardi and D. Wertman, Italian Christian Democracy: The Politics of Dominance. New York: Macmillan, 1989, pp. 21–46.

(21.) Factional power was so embedded that, even after the 1992 general elections, when the DC, for the first time, scored below 30 percent, and the Clean Hands investigations started to hit hard, the traditional dynamics could be preserved. This meant that Giuliano Amato (PSI) only received the list with the names of the DC’s (potential) ministers from DC’s party secretary a few hours before his visit to the President of the Republic, to be sworn in as prime minister. G. Amato, Un governo nella transizione. La mia esperienza di Presidente del Consiglio, in “Quaderni costituzionali,” 14, 3, 1994, p. 362.

(22.) M. Caciagli, “The 18th Congress: From De Mita to Forlani and the Victory of ‘Neodoroteism’,” in F. Sabetti and R. Catanzaro (eds.), Italian Politics: A Review. Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1991, pp. 8–22.

(23.) D. Hine, “Factionalism in West European Parties: A Framework for Analysis,” West European Politics 5, 1, 1982, pp. 36–53.

(24.) F. Boucek, “Rethinking Factionalism: Typologies, Intra-Party Dynamics and Three Faces of Factionalism,” Party Politics, 15, 4, 2009, pp. 455–485.

(25.) Follini, La DC. p. 114.

(26.) M. Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo. Gli Usa e la DC negli anni del centrismo (1948–55). Rome: Carocci, 2001.

(27.) Mattei was the first chairman of ENI, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (National Hydrocarbons Trust).

(29.) L. Caracciolo, “L’Italia alla ricerca di sé stessa,” in G. Sabbatucci and V. Vidotto (eds.), Storia d’Italia, vol. 6: L’Italia contemporanea. Dal 1963 a oggi, Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1999, pp. 541–604.

(30.) F. Anderlini, “La DC: Iscritti e Modello di Partito,” Polis, 3, 1989, pp. 277–304.

(31.) P. Ignazi and S. Wellhofer, “Votes and Votive Candles: Modernization, Secularization, Vatican II, and the Decline of Religious Voting in Italy 1953–1992,” Comparative Political Studies, 46, n. 1, 2013, pp. 31–62.

(32.) L. Bardi and L. Morlino, “Italy: Tracing the Roots of the Great Transformation,” in Richard S. Katz and Peter Mair (eds.), How Parties Organize. London: Sage, 1994, pp. 242–277, p. 258.

(33.) R. Cafferata, “The Enduring Presence of Groups and Public Enterprises in the Italian Economy,” Journal of Management & Governance, 14, 2010, pp. 199–220, p. 200.

(35.) S. Tarrow, Peasant Communism in Southern Italy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967; L. Graziano, Clientelismo e Sistema Politico: Il caso dell’Italia. Milan: Franco Angeli, 1980.

(36.) P. Allum, Politics and Society in Postwar Naples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973; M. Caciagli, Democrazia Cristiana e potere nel Mezzogiorno. Rimini and Florence: Guaraldi, 1977.

(37.) J. Lynch, “Italy: A Catholic or Clientelist Welfare State?,” in K Van Kersbergen and P. Manow (eds.), Religion, Class Coalitions and Welfare States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 91–118.

(39.) The DC kept a strong hold on the key position of the directorship of the RAI. Ettore Bernabei was promoted by Fanfani as director general from a similar position in the DC’s party newspaper Il Popolo in the early 1960s; in the 1980s, this position was given to De Mita’s close friend, Biagio Agnes.

(40.) G. Baldini, “The Failed Renewal: The DC from 1982 to 1994,” in P.Ignazi and C. Ysmal (eds.), The Organization of Political Parties in Southern Europe. Praeger: Boulder, 1998, pp. 110–133.

(41.) Il Corriere della Sera, September 15, 1976; Il Mondo, August 24–31, 1992.

(42.) C. Baccetti, Postdemocristiani. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007.