Five Italian Parties Agree to Revive Craxi Coalition

July 30, 1986|Associated Press

ROME — Socialist Bettino Craxi received the go-ahead from his coalition partners Tuesday to revive his shattered government with the understanding that he will turn the prime minister's job over to the Christian Democrats a year before the next elections.

The agreement, aimed at retaining the same center-left government for the final two years of the legislative term, was announced by politicians after a summit meeting of the five coalition parties at the Chigi Palace.

Craxi, whose 34-month government was the longest running in Italy's postwar history, resigned June 27 after losing a secret parliamentary vote. The crisis was prompted by feuding between the Socialists and the Christian Democrats over which party should hold the top post.

Cabinet Shuffle Awaited

Still to be worked out is the composition of the new Cabinet, but Craxi's top aide, Claudio Martelli, said that it will include six or seven new faces.

The five parties are the Christian Democrats, Italy's largest single party, the Socialists, Republicans, Social Democrats and Liberals.

Christian Democrats, who hold three times as many parliamentary seats as the Socialists, had said they would support another Craxi government, provided that he agreed to step down early next year and turn over the post to them.

Giovanni Spadolini, a Republican and defense minister in Craxi's government, said the coalition partners agreed that the changeover will take place in March at the time of the Socialist Party congress.

Craxi's fellow Socialists have said he will then devote himself to leading the party into the parliamentary elections scheduled for the spring of 1988.

The agreement means that Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti, veteran politician and former prime minister, will probably head the government in the year leading up to the elections.

Election Losses Feared

The Christian Democrats feared that if Craxi remained as prime minister for the entire five years of the legislature, the Socialists might score substantial election gains at the expense of the Christian Democrats.

The new accord implies that the Christian Democrats will honor it when they take over and that the Socialists will maintain their support for the coalition for the full term.

Craxi, in consultation with his coalition partners, now plans to work on the allocation of ministerial posts in his new Cabinet.

The government is not considered formed until the prime minister-designate turns over his Cabinet list to President Francesco Cossiga. Politicians have said they expect Craxi to present the Cabinet to Parliament by Aug. 4.

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