Pelloux, Luigi Girolamo

(1839–1924)
   General Pelloux fought in all three of the wars that established Italian independence and reunification. In 1870, he commanded the artillery that breached the walls of Rome. His political career began in 1880, when he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. A troublesome and ambitious minister of war under both Antonio Starabba Di Rudini and Giovanni Giolitti, Pelloux was identified by King Humbert I in June 1898 as a strong leader who could restore calm after the bloody rioting of the previous months. In his initial statements to Parliament, Pelloux claimed that he would have no need of the restrictive laws against political organization and free speech proposed by his predecessor, Rudini. In February 1899, however, Pelloux reneged on his word. His second government, formed in May 1899 with the centerright deputies led by Sidney Sonnino, struggled for several weeks to pass a harsh packet of repressive measures. The left, especially the Partito Socialista Italiano/Italian Socialist Party (PSI), responded with a filibuster—the first time this tactic had been used in the Italian Parliament. At the end of June 1899, Pelloux lost patience and had the law passed by royal decree. Humbert closed the Parliament until November. The next year, following a sentence by the High Court declaring the royal decree of June 1899 constitutionally invalid, Pelloux tried again to get parliamentary approval for the measures. He was not successful; parliamentary filibustering caused the government to withdraw the proposals.
   Pelloux decided that there was no option but to go to the polls and have the electorate confirm or reject his policies. Elections were held at the beginning of June 1900. The PSI, Radicals, and Republicans together obtained almost 100 deputies, and the traditional left led by Giuseppe Zanardellidid well, too. Pelloux’s majority had been considerably reduced, and on 18 June 1900, he resigned and returned to the armed forces, in command of the garrison in Turin. He played no further role in politics. He died in Bordighera (Liguria) in 1924.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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