Lombardi, Riccardo

   One of the founding members of the Partito d’Azione/Action Party (PdA) in 1942, Riccardo Lombardi was born in Enna (Sicily). He was the PdA’s representative in the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale-Alta Italia/National Liberation Committee-Northern Italy (CLNAI) and was one of the resistance leaders who negotiated the unconditional surrender of the Republic of Salo with Benito Mussoliniin April 1945. Following these negotiations, Lombardi was appointed prefect of Milan by the CLNAI. One of his first tasks was to save the bodies of Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, from further vilification by the crowd that had strung them up in Piazza Loreto.
   Lombardi served as transport minister in Alcide De Gasperi’s first postwar government (December 1945–July 1946) and was elected to the Constituent Assembly as a member of the PdA. He was the secretary of the PdA until its dissolution in 1947. Lombardi was reelected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1948 as a member of the Partito Socialista Italiano/Italian Socialist Party (PSI). He edited the party daily, Avanti!, in 1949–1950, and rapidly became the theoretical voice of the PSI’s left wing and a major rival within the party to Pietro Nenni. Lombardi reluctantly agreed to the PSI’s decision to form a coalition government with the Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC) in 1963; he theorized that the PSI would be able to undermine the capitalist system in Italy from within the state by promoting radical social reforms. He did not take ministerial office, however, and thus was unable to press his case. His position was further weakened by the loss of Lelio Basso and others of the party’s far left, who left the PSI to form the Partito Socialista Italiano d’Unita Proletaria/Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) in 1964. Lombardi remained the focal point of the PSI’s left throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but his supporters were only a minority faction within the party. Lombardi was briefly president of the PSI in 1980. He died in Rome in 1984.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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