Scelba, Mario

(1901–1991)
   Born in the Sicilian province of Catania, Scelba was a militant in Catholic youth federations. For a time he was secretary to Luigi Sturzo and an early member of the Partito Popolare Italiano/Italian Popular Party (PPI), forerunner of the Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC). During the Fascist years he sought to keep a Catholic party alive. Indeed, at war’s end he was one of five or six leaders of the new DC. After early ministerial service (with Ferruccio Parri in 1945 and, subsequently, with Alcide De Gasperi, 1945–1947), he became minister of the interior in De Gasperi’s second government in 1947 and stayed at that post through successive governments until 1953. In 1954, he formed his own government, in which he was both president of the Council and minister of the interior; it lasted for 17 months. Scelba is perhaps best remembered for this period as minister of the interior. In that capacity, he reorganized the police, purging from the ranks all ex-partisans who had joined the force. He also inspired the creation of the celere, antiriot police, used with telling effect on labor, left, or other demonstrators against government policies. Scelba joined Amintore Fanfani’s third government as minister of the interior (1960–1962). In 1968, he was elected to the Senate and was president of the European Parliament between 1969 and 1971. He died in Rome in October 1991.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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