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Yearbook 1996

1996 ItalyItaly. According to, the political crisis escalated after the right-wing coalition of the Freedom Alliance leader, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the Liberal Democratic Party's (Partito Democratico della Sinistra, PDS) secretary general Massimo D'Alema failed in an attempt to avoid new elections in the first half of the year, when Italy Berlusconi's coalition partner Gianfranco Fini, leader of the right-wing National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale, AN), opposed the deal and demanded that Prime Minister Lamberto Dini either form a new government with parliamentary majority or resign and announce new elections. Expedition Minister Dini had already submitted his resignation application to President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on January 11. The President dissolved Parliament on February 16 and announced new elections until April 21. When the electoral movement was launched in March 18, the main opponent was the Olive Tree Alliance (L'ulivo, consisting of the Left Democratic Party, Partito Democratico della Sinistra; Italian People's Party, Partito Popolare Italiano; Green Federation, Federazione dei Verdi) and the Liberty Alliance (Polo Por la National Alliance, Alleanza Nazionale; and Heja Italy, Forza Italia). The election did not result in its own majority for either block, but certainly a great success for the Olive Tree Alliance, which conquered a total of 284 of the 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies against the Freedom Alliance's 246. Lega Nord received 59 seats, the Left Party Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (RC) 35, while the remaining six deputies came from small parties. The newly elected Chamber of Deputies approved May 31 with 322 votes against 299 a new center-left government with Romano Prodi as prime minister. Lamberto Dini became Foreign Minister and Walter Veroni of the Left Democratic Party Vice Prime Minister. The new government counted on tactical support from the 35 members of Rifondazione Comunista, whose leader Fausto Bertinotte, however, contented with expressing his "conditional trust" for the Prodi government. In the government declaration, the new prime minister announced a minimum budget to keep the deficit at 5.8% of gross domestic product. He also promised to prioritize measures against unemployment and education and constitutional reform. The government's first budget, presented on September 27, became the tightest in the country's post-war history.

1996 Italy

On May 12, deputies from the Lega Nord party in the city of Mantua announced the appointment of a government for the "Independent Republic of Padania" in the north. At a demonstration for a free Padania in Turin on September 13, the protesters were attacked by leftists. A new demonstration was held the following day in Venice. Lega Nord leader Umberto Bossi urged his followers to burn state TV licenses and refuse to pay certain taxes. Bossi proclaimed the Independent Republic of Padania on September 15, but the manifestation did not get the connection he predicted - it stayed with 50,000 participants instead of a million. Counter-demonstrations by both left-wing supporters and right-wing extremists led by National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini in Chioggia outside Venice were dispersed by police. Verona authorities on September 18 ordered a raid on Lega Nord's premises in Milan to seek evidence of the organization's constitutional activities. Three of the party's parliamentarians, including former Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, were slightly injured when they attempted to barricade the premises.

At a meeting convened at the end of November, the EU finance ministers decided to exchange the Italian lira exchange rate at Lit 990 per D mark, and thus Italy rejoined the exchange rate cooperation ERM after four years of absence. Already on the same day, however, confidence in the lira dropped dramatically, after information emerged that prosecutors requested an examination of Prime Minister Romano Prodi's possible involvement in the tours around state holding company Iri a few years earlier.

Three Italian trade unions announced a four-hour general strike on December 22 until December 13 for industry and transport workers. The unions demanded compensation in wage increases for inflation that has taken place since 1993. In September 1996, consumer prices rose by 0.3%, and thus I's inflation rate fell to 3.4.

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