To this day, some people, especially those who were close to Craxi argue that some parties like the Italian Communist Party (PCI) were left untouched, while the leaders of
then ruling coalition and in particular Craxi were wiped off the political map.
Things were further complicated by the fact that many parties had internal currents that would have welcomed the Communists in the governing coalition, in particular, within
Christian Democracy, the largest party in Italy from 1945 until the end of the First Republic.
 Even if the PSI never became a serious electoral challenger either to the PCI or the Christian Democrats, its pivotal position in the political arena allowed it to claim
the post of Prime Minister for Craxi after the 1983 general election.
The party was disbanded on 13 November 1994 after two years of agony, in which almost all of its longtime leaders, especially Craxi, were involved in Tangentopoli and decided
to leave politics.
 The main dynamic of Italian post-war politics was to find a way to keep the Italian Communist Party out of power.
 Prime Minister of Italy Craxi led the third longest-lived government of Italy during the republican era (after the II and IV Silvio Berlusconi cabinets) and had strong
influence in Italian politics throughout the 1980s; for a time, he was a close ally of two key figures of Christian Democracy, Giulio Andreotti and Arnaldo Forlani, in a loose cross-party alliance often dubbed CAF (from the first letter
of the surname Craxi-Andreotti-Forlani).
 He always rejected the charges of corruption while admitting to the illegal funding that permitted costly political activity, the PSI being less financially powerful than
the two larger parties, Christian Democracy (DC) and the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
Craxi was the only political leader, together with Amintore Fanfani and Marco Pannella, to declare himself available to a “humanitarian solution” that would allow the liberation
of Christian Democrat statesman, drawing heavy criticism on the so-called “party of firmness”, primarily driven by the Communists.
 The alternative which Craxi had wanted so much was taking shape: the idea of a “Social Unity” with the other left-wing political parties, including the PCI, proposed
by Craxi in 1989 after the fall of communism.
 This caused the immediate fall of the cabinet and the formation of a new government led by the long-time Christian Democratic politician Amintore Fanfani.
De Martino, pointing to a new alliance with the Communists, was forced to resign and opened a serious crisis within the party.
 Craxi during a PSI rally In July 1978, following the resignation of President Giovanni Leone, after a lengthy parliamentary battle, Craxi was able to bring together a
large number of votes, electing Sandro Pertini, as new President; Pertini was the first Socialist to hold this position.
that caused the fall of the government Aldo Moro and the subsequent snap election, which saw an impressive growth of the Italian Communist Party led by a young leader, Enrico
Berlinguer, while the Christian Democracy managed to remain the majority party on just a few votes.
However, upon coming out of the Hotel Raphael, where he lived, he received a salvo of coins that members of the Democratic Party of the Left and the right-wing Italian Social
Movement threw at him as a sign of their disgust.
 Craxi had a firm grasp on a party previously troubled by factionalism, and tried to distance it from the Communists and to bring it closer to Christian Democrats
and other parties; his objective was to create an Italian version of European reformist socialist parties, like the German SPD or the French Socialist Party.
 After the premiership In the 1987 general election the PSI won 14.3% of the vote, a good result but less good than what Craxi hoped, and this time it was the Christian
Democrats’ turn to govern.
 On the morning of 16 March 1978, the day on which the new cabinet led by Giulio Andreotti was supposed to have undergone a confidence vote in the Italian Parliament,
the car of Aldo Moro, former prime minister and then president of DC was assaulted by a group of Red Brigades terrorists in Via Fani in Rome.
The CAF (the Craxi-Andreotti-Forlani axis), which had made a pact to revive the Pentapartito (an alliance of five parties: DC, PSI, Italian Republican Party, Italian Liberal
Party, Italian Democratic Socialist Party) of the 1980s and apply it to the 1990s, was doomed to be crushed by the popular vote as well as by the judges.
 In fact, the PSI was in line to become the Italy’s second largest party and to become the dominant force of a new left-wing coalition opposed to a Christian Democrat-led
However, the Italian Socialist Party never outgrew the much larger Italian Communist Party, whose highly charismatic leader, Enrico Berlinguer, was a fierce adversary of Craxi’s
policies through the years.
 The Italian Socialist Party reached its post-war apex when it increased its share of votes in the general election of 1987.
Italy’s entire political class, including people like Andreotti and Forlani, was to follow suit soon.
He was the first PSI member to become prime minister and the third from a socialist party to hold the office.
He led the third-longest government in the Italian Republic and he is considered one of the most powerful and prominent politicians of the First Italian Republic.
Among the friends of Craxi’s to receive smaller and larger favours, Silvio Berlusconi is perhaps the most known: he received many favours, especially regarding his media empire,
and had a decree named after him (“Decreto Berlusconi”) long before he entered politics.
Furthermore, Craxi’s arrogant character won him many enemies; one of his most condemned actions was blaming corruption in the socialist party on treasurer Vincenzo Balzamo,
just after the latter’s death, in order to clear himself of any accusation.
“ Foreign policy Craxi with Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu In the international arena, Craxi helped dissidents and Socialist parties throughout the world to
organise and become independent.
 In 1956, following the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Craxi with a group of loyalists committed himself to the detachment of the Socialist Party from its pro-Communist policy,
but he failed: his proposal to associate the Socialist Youth Movement with the International Organisation of Democratic Youth was rejected.
The judges in Milan were put under scrutiny several times by different governments, especially Silvio Berlusconi’s first government in 1994, but no evidence of any misconduct
was ever found.
Pertini was also supported by the Communists, which considered the old Socialist partisan not conducive to the “new course” of Craxi.
 There is also evidence that part of Craxi’s illegally earned money was given in secret to leftist political opposition in Uruguay during the military dictatorship, to
Solidarity in the period of Jaruzelski rule in Poland and to Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization because of Craxi’s sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
 According to the version of political circles in Washington, Craxi first gave the United States Forces permission to detain the terrorists, but he later reneged on the
He made an appeal before the Chamber of Deputies in which he claimed that everyone knew of the widespread irregularities in the public financing of Italian parties, accused
the deputies of hypocrisy and cowardice, and called for all MPs to protect the Socialists from prosecution as a show of solidarity.
 This strategy called for ending most of the party’s historical traditions as a working-class trade union based party and attempting to gain new support among white-collar
and public sector employees.
 As responsible of the PSI foreign policy he supported, also financially, some socialist parties banned by the dictatorships of their respective countries, including the
Spanish Socialist Workers Party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the Chilean Socialist Party of Salvador Allende, of whom Craxi was a personal friend.
Between 1992 and 1993, most members of the party left politics and three Socialist deputies committed suicide.
Under Craxi, the PSI moved closer to the centre-left and political centre, much to ally with Christian Democracy and other moderate parties that formed a coalition called
Pentapartito, which ensured a stable majority to govern.
 This episode earned Craxi an article in The Economist titled “Europe’s strong man” and a standing ovation in the Senate of the Republic, which included his Communist
 Craxi’s father stood in the 1948 Italian general election for the Popular Democratic Front, a political alliance between the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and the Italian
Communist Party (PCI).
Craxi was also known for never apologising, as a matter of principle; most Italians expected an apology after the corrupt system had been exposed.
 As leader of PSI, he tried to undermine the Communist Party, which until then had been continuously increasing its votes in elections, and to consolidate the PSI as a
modern, strongly pro-European reformist social-democratic party, with deep roots in the democratic left-wing.
Chiesa sought Craxi’s protection for nearly a month; but Craxi accused him of casting a shadow on the “most honest party in Italy”.
 Craxi, on the one hand explicitly distanced himself from Leninism referring to forms of authoritarian socialism, and on the other he showed supports to the civil society
movements and to the battles for civil rights, mainly proposed by the Radical Party, he oversaw its image through the media.
 On 9 May 1978 Moro’s body was found in the trunk of a Renault 4 in Via Caetani after 55 days of imprisonment, during which Moro was submitted to a political trial by
the so-called “people’s court” set up by the Brigate Rosse and the Italian government was asked for an exchange of prisoners.
As the Mani Pulite investigations were to uncover in the 1990s, personal corruption was endemic in Italian society; while many politicians, including Craxi, would justify
corruption with the necessities of a democracy, political leaders at many levels enjoyed a lifestyle that should have been well out of their reach, while most parties continued having financial problems.
During the Mani pulite period, Craxi tried to use a daring defence tactic: he maintained that all parties needed and took money illegally, however they could get it, to finance
The Socialists held a strong balance of power, which made them more powerful than the Christian Democrats, who had to depend on it to form a majority in Parliament.
At the same time, the PSI increased its presence in the big state-owned enterprises, and became heavily involved in corruption and illegal party funding which would eventually
result in the Mani pulite investigations.
 During this period he engaged for the first time in public speaking, organizing conferences, debates, film screenings, and in 1956 he became part of the PSI Provincial
Committee in Milan, and leader of the Socialist Youth Federation.
 Craxi with the United States President Ronald Reagan This move was supposedly dictated both by security concerns about terrorists targeting Italy if the United States
had had it their way and by the Italian tradition of diplomacy with the Arab world.
An ironic note was that the disgraced remnant of the party was excluded from Parliament by the minimum 4% threshold introduced by Craxi himself during one of his previous
The 100-year-old party closed down, partially thanks to its leaders for their personalisation of the PSI.
The PSI, that had obtained only 11%, threatened to leave the parliamentary majority unless Craxi was made Prime Minister.
Under Craxi, the PSI supported Third-Worldism, was pro-Arab and environmentalist, and supported the modern welfare state, and was also pro-Atlanticist, pro-Europeanist, placed
a strong defense of territorial sovereignty (e.g.
 The Church’s position as the sole state-supported religion of Italy was also ended, replacing the state financing with a personal income tax called the otto per mille,
to which other religious groups, Christian and non-Christian, also have access.
 Craxi always opposed the Historic Compromise policy of Moro and Berlinguer, a political alliance and an accommodation between the Christian Democrats and the Communists;
the alliance would inevitably make the Socialists politically irrelevant.
In any event, the victory of the “No” campaign in the referendum called by the Italian Communist Party was a major victory for Craxi.
 Involvement in Tangentopoli The last main turning point of Craxi’s career began in February 1992, when Socialist MP Mario Chiesa was arrested by police while taking a
7 million lira bribe from a cleaning service firm.
In particular, he sought and managed to distance the party from the Communists, bringing it into an alliance with Christian Democracy and other centrist parties, while maintaining
a leftist and reformist profile.
As a consequence, a team of Milanese judges began investigating specifically the party’s financing system.
 Craxi with his Foreign Affairs Minister and Christian Democratic leader Giulio Andreotti In domestic policy, a number of reforms were initiated during Craxi’s time
 This name was given him by his long-time ally and rival at the same time, DC leader Giulio Andreotti.
 Craxi maintained strong links with many leaders of the European left, including François Mitterrand, Felipe González, Andreas Papandreou, and Mário Soares, and was
one of the main representatives of Mediterranean or South European socialism.
No party was spared but in some parties corruption had become more endemic than elsewhere, either because of more opportunity or internal ethics.
 Craxi’s supporters especially praised his foreign policy, which was assertive and often led to confrontations with the United States, on issues such as Palestinian
territories, terrorism, and Craxi’s close relations with Arab socialist governments.
He outlined for a line of alternation between the DC and the left-wing, represented by his party, due to the close relations between the PCI and the Soviet Union.
 Criticism of his lifestyle Electoral posters of the PSI showing a portrait of Craxi Craxi’s lifestyle was perceived to be inappropriate for the secretary of
a party with so many alleged financial problems: he lived in the Raphael, an expensive hotel in Rome’s centre, and had a large villa in Hammamet, Tunisia.
His revelations brought half of the Milan Socialists and industrialists under investigation; even Paolo Pillitteri, Craxi’s own brother-in-law and mayor of Milan, was investigated
despite his parliamentary immunity.
 Craxi after the election as PSI Secretary in 1976 Craxi was appointed to the vacant position of National Secretary of the party, ending years of factional fighting within
More followed in January and February, at which point the Court of Milan explicitly asked Parliament to authorise Craxi’s prosecution for bribery and corruption (at the time,
Italian MPs were immune from prosecution unless authorised by Parliament).
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14. ^ Io che azzannai il Cinghialone e non vidi gli orrori dei giudici
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così pregavano “il Cinghialone”
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Qualcuno era comunista
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“Il rugby e l’immortalità del nome”. L’Ago e Il Filo. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
38. ^ Il primo riformista italiano
39. ^ Il socialismo liberale di Craxi
40. ^ Il vangelo socialista di Craxi
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44. ^ I quattro anni che sconvolsero l’Italia. Ascesa
e crollo dell’impero del CAF
45. ^ La stagione del CAF
46. ^ Bettino Craxi, il riformista e la sinistra italiana
47. ^ La via di Craxi è il riformismo
48. ^ Bettino Craxi e l’asse con la DC
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53. ^ The Power to Dismiss
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56. ^ Gli accordi di Villa Madama: dalla Costituente a Craxi
57. ^ Article 8 of the revised concordat
58. ^ Articles 41–42 of the 1929 concordat
59. ^ Article
15 of the 1929 concordat
60. ^ Article 19 of the 1929 concordat
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77. ^ Quando Bettino disertò il passaggio
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78. ^ Il PSI contro Andreotti: “Ci vuole strangolare”
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85. ^ They were Giuseppe Albertini,
Enrico Boselli, Carlo Carli, Ottaviano Del Turco, Fabio Di Capua, Vittorio Emiliani, Mario Gatto, Luigi Giacco, Gino Giugni, Alberto La Volpe, Vincenzo Mattina, Valerio Mignone, Rosario Olivo, Corrado Paoloni, Giuseppe Pericu and Valdo Spini.
They were Paolo Bagnoli, Orietta Baldelli, Francesco Barra, Luigi Biscardi, Guido De Martino, Gianni Fardin, Carlo Gubbini, Maria Rosaria Manieri, Cesare Marini, Maria Antonia Modolo, Michele Sellitti, Giancarlo Tapparo, Antonino Valletta and Antonio
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89. ^ Lo Snodo ::
Il vento di Hammamet, gelido dall’Italia
90. ^ The following picture from Wikimedia, extracted from this survey, shows the actual orientation of the tomb: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BettinoCraxi-JPvanDijk-AzimuthDirection.jpg