Italian Socialists made big gains and Communists suffered losses in local elections seen as a test of the political climate for Italy's six-week-old government. In the voting to elect administrations in 1,215 cities and towns, results from more than 80% of polling places showed Prime Minister Ciriaco De Mita's Christian Democrats with 36.2% of the vote, up nearly a point from similar elections in 1983. The biggest gains were registered by the Socialists, Italy's third-largest party and the second-largest in De Mita's coalition. According to the partial results, the Socialists won 18.1% of the vote, nearly three points more than in 1983. The Communists, Italy's second-largest party, which has been excluded from every government since 1948, suffered embarrassing setbacks with 22.8% of the vote, down three points from 1983.