Italy: Political Instability – Real or Perceived?

Dr Bruno Mascitelli
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Italy experienced a political system during the post war period which many have defined as a "particracy" of a "polarised" kind. This produced a permanent one party government (run by the Christian Democracy) along with a one party opposition (the Italian Communist Party). There was no alternation in government which subsequently brought on other difficulties not to mention a "deficit in democracy". The system was defined by some as being "blocked". With the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the political crisis which followed soon after (in 1992-94), changes occurred to the Italian political process. Traditional parties that had dominated the political process ceased to exist or radically changed. New parties emerged including Forza Italia, the party of the current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Corruption revelations uncovered a systemic wholesale level of political corruption cutting across most parties and factions. Changes occurred as a result of these new political developments. In part there were specific reforms to the political machinery such as electoral reform. In addition the political culture changed which began to see a bi-polar political alternation of centre left versus centre right. Did these changes produce a different, more stable Italy? Were these changes of a kind which produced a new political system, a new republic? Have the fundamental weakness of the Italian political system been overcome?

Keywords: Italy, Italian Politics, Italian Party System, Italian Crisis and Instability
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Italy

Dr Bruno Mascitelli

Lecturer, Languages Section School of Business , Swinburne University of Technology

Mascitelli has been a lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne Australia since 2000. He previously worked and lived in Milan, Italy for over 17 years for the Australian government. Living in Italy for that time period is where his interest in Italian political issues emerged. He is currently completing a Ph. D. in "A re-evaluation of the causes of the Italian political crisis of 1992-94", enrolled in the Politics Department at Melbourne University where completion is expected in 2005.

Ref: D05P0042