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date: 17 February 2020

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

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