- When World War II ended, the form of government and the role of the monarchy itself were major issues to be decided by the Italian people. After a lengthy delay during which Italy was governed by provisional governments headed by Ferruccio Parri and (from December 1945) Alcide De Gasperi, the resolution of these questions was left to the Constituent Assembly elected on 2 June 1946. The election was Italy’s first ever free election by universal suffrage. The election provided a balanced outcome. The Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC) was easily the largest party, with 207 delegates (35.2 percent of the vote). The DC’s success was offset, however, by the strong showing of the parties of the left. The Partito Socialista Italiano d’Unita Proletaria/Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) took 115 seats (20.7 percent), and the Partito Comunista Italiano/Italian Communist Party (PCI) obtained 104 seats and 19 percent of the vote. Right-wing parties represented were the Partito Liberale Italiano/Italian Liberal Party (PLI), (41 seats, 6.8 percent) and Fronte dell’Uomo Qualunque/The Common Man’s Front (UQ), which received 5.3 percent of the vote and took 30 seats. Republicans, Monarchists, and the Partito d’Azione/Action Party (PdA) were also represented. On the same day, Italians voted to end the monarchy by a margin of 54.2 percent to 45.8 (12.72 million votes to 10.72 million). The North and Center of Italy were strongly in favor of a republic; the South equally strongly for the king, with 80 percent of voters supporting the monarchy in Naples. Since the Republic had not secured a majority of all votes cast (only of valid votes), King Humbert II initially refused to accept the result. De Gasperi stood firm, however, and Humbert was forced into exile.At the end of June 1946, the Constituent Assembly elected Enrico De Nicola provisional head of the Italian Republic. Alcide De Gasperi, who was the leader of the largest of the parties, was asked to form a new government that included members of the DC, the PCI, and the Partito Repulblicano Italiano/Republican Party (PRI).
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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