Francesco Cossiga

Francesco Cossiga, OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [franˈtʃesko kosˈsiːɡa]; 26 July 1928 – 17 August 2010)[1][2] was an Italian politician, member of the Christian Democracy. He served as the 42nd Prime Minister of Italy from 1979 to 1980 and the 8th President of Italy from 1985 to 1992.[3] Cossiga is widely considered one of the most prominent and influential politicians of the so-called First Republic. He has been often described as a strongman and accused of being an "iron minister", who brutally repressed the public protests.[4]

Cossiga served also as minister for several times, notably during his stay as Italian Minister of the Interior, where he re-structured the Italian police, civil protection and secret services. He was in office at the time of the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro by Red Brigades, and resigned as Minister of the Interior when Moro was found dead in 1978.[5] Cossiga was Prime Minister when neo-fascist terrorists bombed Bologna railway station in 1980.

He was also a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sassari.


Francesco Cossiga

Cossiga Francesco
8th President of Italy
In office
3 July 1985 – 28 April 1992
Prime MinisterBettino Craxi
Amintore Fanfani
Giovanni Goria
Ciriaco De Mita
Giulio Andreotti
Preceded bySandro Pertini
Succeeded byOscar Luigi Scalfaro
42nd Prime Minister of Italy
In office
4 August 1979 – 18 October 1980
PresidentAlessandro Pertini
Preceded byGiulio Andreotti
Succeeded byArnaldo Forlani
President of the Senate of the Republic
In office
12 July 1983 – 3 July 1985
Preceded byVittorino Colombo
Succeeded byAmintore Fanfani
Minister of the Interior
In office
12 February 1976 – 11 May 1978
Prime MinisterAldo Moro
Giulio Andreotti
Preceded byLuigi Gui
Succeeded byVirginio Rognoni
Minister for Public Administration
and Regions
In office
23 November 1974 – 12 February 1976
Prime MinisterAldo Moro
Preceded byLuigi Gui
Succeeded byTommaso Morlino
Senator for life
In office
28 April 1992 – 17 August 2010
ex officio
Member of the Senate of the Republic
In office
12 July 1983 – 3 July 1985
ConstituencySardinia
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
12 June 1958 – 11 July 1983
ConstituencyCagliari–Sassari
Personal details
Born26 July 1928
Sassari, Kingdom of Italy
Died17 August 2010 (aged 82)
Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Political partyDC (1945–1992)
UDR (1998–1999)
UpR (1999–2001)
Independent (2001–2010)
Spouse(s)
Giuseppa Sigurani
(m. 1960; div. 1998)
Children2, including Giuseppe
Alma materUniversity of Sassari
Signature
Francesco Cossiga's signature

Early life

Francesco Cossiga was born in Sassari on 26 July 1928, by a republican and anti-fascist middle-bourgeois family. He was the second-degree cousin of Enrico and Giovanni Berlinguer.[6] Although he was commonly called "Cossìga", the original pronunciation of the surname is "Còssiga" [ˈkɔssiɡa].[7] His surname in Sardinian and Sassarese means "Corsica", likely pointing to the family's origin.[8]

At the age of sixteen, he graduated, in advance of three years, at the classical lyceum Domenico Alberto Azuni. The following year he joined in the Christian Democracy, and three years later, at only 19 years old, he graduated in law and started a university career as professor of constitutional law at the faculty of jurisprudence of the University of Sassari.[9]

During his period at the university he became a member of the Catholic Federation of University Students (FUCI), becoming the association's leader for Sassari.[10]

Beginnings of his political career

After the 1958 general election Cossiga was elected in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time, representing the constituency of Cagliari–Sassari.

In February 1966 he became the youngest Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence, in the government of Aldo Moro. In this role he had to face the aftermath of Piano Solo, an envisaged plot for an Italian coup d'état requested by then President Antonio Segni, two years before.[11]

From November 1974 to February 1976 Cossiga was Minister of Public Administration in Moro's fourth government.

Minister of the Interior

On 12 February 1976, Cossiga was appointed Minister of the Interior, by Prime Minister Moro. During his term he re-structured the Italian police, civil protection and secret services. Cossiga has been often described as a strongman and accused of being an "iron minister",[12] who brutally repressed the public protests.[13][14] Moreover, during his tenure as Interior Minister he was often nicknamed "KoSig runes.svgiga", with the Schutzstaffel symbol.[15]

1977 protests and riots

Bologna riots in 1977
Armored vehicle in the university area of Bologna.

In 1977 the city of Bologna was the scene of violent street clashes. In particular, on March 11 a militant of the far-left organization Lotta Continua, Francesco Lorusso, was killed by a gunshot to the back (probably fired by a policeman), when police dispersed protesters against a mass meeting of Communion and Liberation, which was being held that morning at the University. This event served as a detonator for a long series of clashes with security forces for two days, which affected the entire city of Bologna.[16] Cossiga sent armored vehicles into the university area and other hot spots of the city to quell what he perceived as guerrilla warfare. Clashes with the police caused numerous casualties among people who got caught up in the riots, including uninvolved locals. No old leftist party, except the Youth Socialist Federation, led by local secretary Emilio Lonardo, participated at the funeral of the student Lorusso, showing the dramatic split between the movement and the historical left parties.

Turin was also the scene of bloody clashes and attacks. On October 1, 1977, after a procession had started with an attack on the headquarters of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a group of militants of Lotta Continua reached a downtown bar, L'angelo azzurro (The Blue Angel), frequented by young right-wing activists. They threw two Molotov cocktails, and Roberto Crescenzio, a totally apolitical student, died of burns. The perpetrators of the murder were never identified. Lotta Continua leader Silvio Viale called it a "tragic accident".

Another innocent victim of the riots of that year was Giorgiana Masi, who was killed in Rome by a gunshot during an event organized by the Radical Party to celebrate the third anniversary of the victory in the referendum on divorce. As the perpetrators of the murder remained unknown, the movement attributed the responsibility of the crime to police officers in plain clothes, which were immortalized at that time dressed in clothing of the style of young people of the movement.

Kidnapping of Aldo Moro

Moro Cossiga
Cossiga with Aldo Moro.

Cossiga was in office at the time of the kidnapping and murder of the Christian Democratic leader Aldo Moro by the Marxist-Leninist extreme-left terrorist group Red Brigades. 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 Moro, former prime minister and then president of DC, was assaulted by a group of Red Brigades terrorists in Via Fani in Rome. Firing automatic weapons, the terrorists killed Moro's bodyguards, (two Carabinieri in Moro's car and three policemen in the following car) and kidnapped him.

Cossiga formed immediately two "crisis committees". The first one was a technical-operational-political committee, chaired by Cossiga himself and, in his absence, by undersecretary Nicola Lettieri. Other members included the supreme commanders of the Italian Police Forces, of the Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza, the recently named directors of SISMI and SISDE (respectively, Italy's military and civil intelligence services), the national secretary of CESIS (a secret informations agency), the director of UCIGOS and the police prefect of Rome. The second one was an information committee, including members of CESIS, SISDE, SISMI and SIOS, another military intelligence office.

Andreotti cossiga
Francesco Cossiga with Giulio Andreotti in 1978.

A third unofficial committee was created which never met officially, called the comitato di esperti ("committee of experts"). Its existence was not disclosed until 1981, by Cossiga himself, in his interrogation by the Italian Parliament's Commission about the Moro affair. He omitted to reveal the decisions and the activities of the committee however. This committee included: Steve Pieczenik, a psychologist of the anti-terrorism section of the US State Department, and notable Italian criminologists.[17] Pieczenik later declared that there were numerous leaks about the discussions made at the committee, and accused Cossiga.[18]

However 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. Despite the common interpretation, the car location in Via Caetani was not halfway between the locations of the national offices of DC and of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in Rome.[19] After two days, Cossiga resigned as Minister of the Interior.[5] According to Italian journalist Enrico Deaglio, Cossiga, to justify his lack of action, "accused the leaders of CGIL and of the Communist Party of knowing where Moro was detained".[20] Cossiga was also accused by Moro himself, in his letters who wrote during his detention, saying that "his blood will fall over him".[21]

Prime Minister of Italy

Francesco Cossiga 1979
Francesco Cossiga in 1979.

One year after Moro's death and the subsequent Cossiga's resignation as Interior Minister, he was appointed Prime Minister of Italy. He led a government's coalition composed by Christian Democrats, Socialists, Democratic Socialists, Republicans and Liberals.

Bologna massacre

Cossiga was head of the government during the Bologna massacre, a terrorist bombing of the Bologna Central Station on the morning of 2 August 1980, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 200. The attack was attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Nuclei), which always denied any involvement; other theories have been proposed, especially in correlation with the strategy of tension.[22]

Francesco Cossiga first assumed the explosion to have been caused by an accident (the explosion of an old boiler located in the basement of the station). Nevertheless, soon the evidence gathered on site of the explosion made it clear that the attack constituted an act of terrorism. L'Unità, the newspaper of the Communist Party on 3 August already attributed responsibility for the attack to neo-fascists. Later, in a special session to the Senate, Cossiga supported the theory that neofascists were behind the attack, "unlike leftist terrorism, which strikes at the heart of the state through its representatives, black terrorism prefers the massacre because it promotes panic and impulsive reactions."[23][24]

Stragedibologna-2
Rescue teams making their way through the rubble after the attack.

Later, according to media reports in 2004, taken up again in 2007,[25] Cossiga, in a letter addressed to Enzo Fragala, leader of the National Alliance section in the Mitrokhin Committee, suggested Palestinian involvement of George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Separat group of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as "Carlos the Jackal".[26] In addition, in 2008 Cossiga gave an interview to BBC in which it reaffirmed his belief that the massacre would not be attributable to black terrorism, but to an "incident" of Palestinian resistance groups operating in Italy. He declared also being convinced of the innocence of Francesca Mambro and Giuseppe Valerio Fioravanti, the two neo-fascist terrorists accused of the massacre.[27][28] The PFLP has always denied responsibility.[29]

Resignation

In October 1980, Cossiga resigned as Prime Minister after the rejection of the "financial law" by the Italian Parliament.[30]

President of Italy

Cossiga Reagan
Cossiga with US President Ronald Reagan, in 1987.

Following the 1983 general election, Cossiga became a member of the Italian Senate; on 12 July, he was elected President of the Senate.[31]

In the 1985 presidential election, Cossiga was elected as President of Italy with 752 votes out of 977. His candidacy was endorsed by the Christian Democracy, but supported also by communists, socialists, social democrats, liberals and republicans. This was the first time an Italian presidential candidate had won the election on the first ballot, where a two thirds majority is necessary.

The Cossiga presidency was essentially divided into two phases related to the attitudes of the head of state. In the first five years, Cossiga played its role in a traditional way, caring for the role of the republican institutions under the Constitution, which makes the President of the Republic a kind of arbitrator in relations between the powers of the state.

"Pickaxe-wielder" president

It was in his last two years as President that Cossiga began to express some unusual opinions regarding the Italian political system. He opined that the Italian parties, especially the Christian Democrats and the Communists had to take into account the deep changes brought about by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.[32] According to him, DC and PCI would therefore have been seriously affected by this change, but Cossiga believed that political parties and the same institutions refused to recognize it.

Cossiga Francesco 3
President Cossiga in his office at Quirinal Palace.

Thus, a period of conflict and political controversy began, often provocative and deliberately excessive, and with very strong media exposure. These statements, soon dubbed "esternazioni", or "mattock blows" (picconate), were considered by many to be inappropriate for a President,[33] and often beyond his constitutional powers; also, his mental health was doubted and Cossiga had to declare "I am the fake madman who speaks the truth."[32] Cossiga suffered from bipolar disorder and depression in the last years of his life.[34]

Among the statements of the President there were also allegations of excessive politicization of the judiciary system, and the stigmatization of the fact that young magistrates, who just came into service, were immediately destined for the Sicilian prosecutor to carry out mafia proceedings.[35]

For his changed attitude, Cossiga received various criticisms by almost every party, with the exception of the Italian Social Movement, which stood beside him in defense of the "picconate". He will, amongst other things, be considered one of the first "cleansers" of MSI, who recognized it as a constitutional and democratic force.[36]

Revelation of Gladio and resignation

Cossiga Yeltsin
Francesco Cossiga with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, in 1992.

Tension developed between Cossiga and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. This tension emerged when Andreotti revealed the existence of Gladio, a stay-behind organization with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines. Cossiga acknowledged his involvement in the establishment of the organization.[37][38] The Democratic Party of the Left (successor to the Communist Party) started the procedure of impeachment (Presidents of Italy can be impeached only for high treason against the State or for an attempt to overthrow the Constitution).[39][40] Although he threatened to prevent the impeachment procedure by dissolving Parliament, the impeachment request was ultimately dismissed.

Cossiga resigned two months before the end of his term, on 25 April 1992.[41] In his last speech as President he stated "To young people I want to say to love the fatherland, to honor the nation, to serve the Republic, to believe in freedom and to believe in our country".[42]

After the presidency

According to the Italian Constitution, after his resignation from the office of President, Cossiga became senator for life, joining his predecessors in the upper house of Parliament, with whom he also shared the title of President Emeritus of the Italian Republic.

In February 1998, Cossiga created the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR), a Christian democratic political party, declaring it to be politically central. The UDR was a crucial component of the majority that supported the Massimo D'Alema government in October 1998, after the fall of the Romano Prodi's government which lost a vote of confidence. Cossiga declared that his support for D'Alema was intended to end the conventional exclusion of the former communist leaders from the premiership in Italy.

In 1999 UDR was dissolved and Cossiga returned to his activities as a senator, with competences in the Military Affairs' Commission.[43]

In May 2006 Cossiga gave his support to the formation of Prodi's second government. In the same month he brought in a bill that would allow the region of South Tyrol to hold a referendum, where the local electorate could decide whether to remain within the Republic of Italy, take independence, or become part of Austria again.[44]

On 27 November 2006, he resigned from his position as a lifetime senator. His resignation was, however, rejected on 31 January 2007 by a vote of the Senate.

In May 2008 Cossiga voted in favor of the government of Silvio Berlusconi.

Death

Funerali Cossiga.
Funeral of Cossiga in Sassari, August 2010.

Cossiga died on 17 August 2010 from respiratory problems at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic.[45] After his death, four letters written by Cossiga were sent to the four highest authorities of the state in office at the time of his death, President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Senate Renato Schifani, President of the Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.[46][47]

The funerals took place in his hometown, Sassari, at the Church of San Giuseppe.[48] Cossiga is buried in the public cemetery of Sassari, in the family tomb, not far from the one of his predecessor as President of Italy, Antonio Segni.[49]

Controversies

In 2007, Cossiga wrote (referring to the 2001 September 11 attacks): "all democratic circles in America and of Europe, especially those of the Italian centre-left, now know that the disastrous attack was planned and realized by the American CIA and Mossad with the help of the Zionist world, to place the blame on Arab countries and to persuade the Western powers to intervene in Iraq and Afghanistan".[50][51] However, the previous year Cossiga had stated that he rejects theoretical conspiracies and that it "seems unlikely that September 11 was the result of an American plot."[52][53]

In the same statement, Cossiga claimed that a video tape circulated by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and containing threats against Silvio Berlusconi was "produced in the studios of Mediaset in Milan" and forwarded to the "Islamist Al-Jazeera television network." The purpose of that video tape (which was actually an audio tape) was to raise "a wave of solidarity to Berlusconi" who was, at the time, facing political difficulties.[50]

In 2008, Francesco Cossiga said that Mario Draghi was "a craven moneyman".[54]

Cossiga blamed the loss of Itavia Flight 870, a passenger jet that crashed in 1980 with the loss of all 81 people on board, on a missile fired from a French Navy aircraft. On 23 January 2013 Italy's top criminal court ruled that there was "abundantly" clear evidence that the flight was brought down by a missile.[55]

Honours and awards

As President of the Republic, Cossiga was Head (and also Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon) of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (from 3 July 1985 to 28 April 1992), Military Order of Italy, Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, Order of Merit for Labour and Order of Vittorio Veneto and Grand Cross of Merit of the Italian Red Cross. He has also been given honours and awards by other countries.

References

  1. ^ Page at Senate website (in Italian).
  2. ^ Profile of Francesco Cossiga
  3. ^ Biografia – Francesco Cossiga
  4. ^ I consigli di Cossiga alla Polizia "Prima una vittima, poi mano dura"
  5. ^ a b Sassoon, Donald (18 August 2010). "Francesco Cossiga obituary". The Guardian.
  6. ^ (in Italian) Mio cugino Berlinguer: Cossiga racconta un leader (Cossiga talking about Enrico Berlinguer in an interview to Gian Antonio Stella – Corriere della Sera, 10 June 2004) (in Italian)
  7. ^ Cossiga, Dizionario d'ortografia e pronuncia RAI
  8. ^ Le confessioni di Cossiga: "Io, Gelli e la massoneria"
  9. ^ Da Presidente notaio a picconatore
  10. ^ Chiesa e società a Sassari dal 1931 al 1961
  11. ^ Morte di un picconatore Archived 28 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Francesco Cossiga: «Voglio sentire il suono delle ambulanze»
  13. ^ Cossiga a Manganelli: «Lasciare che gli studenti facciano danni, poi una dura repressione»
  14. ^ Terrorizzare e reprimere. Il terrorismo come strumento repressivo in perenne estensione Archived 25 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Da Kossiga con la K a picconatore: vita del Dc più anomalo
  16. ^ Gino Moliterno, Encyclopedia of contemporary Italian culture (annotated), CRC Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-415-14584-8, p 800
  17. ^ Biondo, Nicola; Massimo Veneziani (2008). Il falsario di Stato. Uno spaccato noir della Roma degli anni di piombo. Rome: Cooper. ISBN 978-88-7394-107-1.
  18. ^ Amara, Emmanuel. Abbiamo ucciso Aldo Moro. La vera storia del rapimento Moro. Cooper. p. 159, note 41.
  19. ^ Fasanella, Giovanni; Giuseppe Roca (2003). The Mysterious Intermediary. Igor Markevitch and the Moro affair. Einaudi.
  20. ^ Deaglio, Enrico (18 August 2010). "La lepre marzolina che attraversò la storia senza pagar dazio". L'Unità.
  21. ^ Flamigni, Sergio (1997). Il mio sangue ricadrà su di loro. Gli scritti di Aldo Moro prigioniero delle Br. Kaos edizioni. ISBN 88-7953-058-5.
  22. ^ Carlo Lucarelli, Blu notte La strage di Bologna (in Italian).
  23. ^ "Police search starts for Bologna bombers". The Globe and Mail. 5 August 1980.
  24. ^ "Neo-Fascists 'Prefer Massacre'". Reuters. 6 August 1980.
  25. ^ "Il giallo della strage di Bologna. Ecco le prove della pista araba", il Giornale, 22 October 2007 (in Italian).
  26. ^ "Strage Bologna: Cossiga, forse atto del terrorismo arabo" Archived 7 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "La strage di Bologna, fu un incidente della resistenza palestinese", Corriere della Sera, 8 July 2008 (in Italian).
  28. ^ "Our World: The convenient war against the Jews" Archived 12 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Jerusalem Post, 6 October 2008.
  29. ^ Former Italian Prime Minister fabricates lies again, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
  30. ^ Il Governo Cossiga
  31. ^ Francesco Cossiga – Dizionario biografico Treccani
  32. ^ a b The Washington Post: Veteran Italian politician Cossiga dies
  33. ^ Bobbio: "Cossiga resterà sotto le macerie"
  34. ^ "I medici: da Pasqua smise di curarsi". corriere.it. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  35. ^ Storia della Prima Repubblica, parte VI, di Paolo Mieli, 3D produzioni video.
  36. ^ Cossiga, Storace: «E’ stato il primo sdoganatore del Msi»
  37. ^ Bloomberg: Francesco Cossiga, Italy's Combative Former President, Dies at Age 82
  38. ^ "Italy: Former president Francesco Cossiga dies at 82 - Adnkronos Politics". adnkronos.com. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  39. ^ (in Italian) Il Sole 24 ore: Occhetto, lo strappo mai ricucito su Gladio
  40. ^ (in Italian) La Repubblica: Il PDS vota l'impeachment di Cossiga (4 December 1991)
  41. ^ (in Italian) La Repubblica: E l'uomo grigio prese il piccone (26 April 1992)
  42. ^ Cossiga, dimissioni del Presidente
  43. ^ (in Italian) Cossiga's activity as a Senator, on the Senate's website
  44. ^ Cossiga, Francesco (8 June 2006). "Riconoscimento del diritto di autodeterminazione al Land Südtyrol – Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano" (PDF). Disegno di Legge Costituzionale N. 592. Senato della Repubblica XV Legislatura. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  45. ^ Addio al Picconatore, è morto Cossiga
  46. ^ Le lettere ai vertici dello Stato
  47. ^ Il testamento politico in 4 lettere sigillate
  48. ^ I funerali di Cossiga
  49. ^ Cossiga, svolti i funerali. Sepolto vicino ad Antonio Segni
  50. ^ a b "Osama-Berlusconi? "Trappola giornalistica"". Corriere della Sera. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  51. ^ Scherer, Steve; Totaro, Lorenzo (17 August 2010). "Francesco Cossiga, Italy's Combative Ex-President, Dies at 82". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  52. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  53. ^ Sassoon, Donald (18 August 2010). "Francesco Cossiga obituary". The Guardian. London.
  54. ^ Francesco Cossiga told that during an interview at the morning television program "Uno Mattina", Rai 1 Video on YouTube
  55. ^ "Italian court: Missile caused 1980 Mediterranean plane crash; Italy must pay compensation". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 23 January 2013.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Luigi Gui
Minister for Public Administration and the Regions
1974–1976
Succeeded by
Tommaso Morlino
Preceded by
Luigi Gui
Minister of the Interior
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Virginio Rognoni
Preceded by
Giulio Andreotti
Prime Minister of Italy
1979–1980
Succeeded by
Arnaldo Forlani
Preceded by
Sandro Pertini
President of Italy
1985–1992
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Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
Italian Senate
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1983–1985
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Vittorino Colombo
President of the Senate of the Republic
1983–1985
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Amintore Fanfani
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Senator for life
Legislatures
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1958–1983
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Masayoshi Ohira
Chairperson of the G7
1980
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Pierre Trudeau
1985 Italian presidential election

The 1985 election of the President of the Italian Republic was held on June 24, 1985. As a second-level, indirect election, only Members of Parliament and regional deputies were entitled to vote. Francesco Cossiga was elected head of state of the Italian Republic, a role of representation of national unity and guarantee that Italian politics comply with the Constitution, in the framework of a parliamentary system.

On June 24, 1985, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy Nilde Iotti, in agreement with Senate Speaker Francesco Cossiga, convened the two houses of the Italian Parliament, integrated with a number of representatives appointed by the twenty Italian regions, in a common session in order to commence voting for the election of the new President of the Italian Republic.

According to the Italian Constitution, the election must be held in the form of secret ballot, with the Senators, the Deputies and 59 regional representatives allowed to cast their votes. When the 1985 election was held, the Senate counted 322 members and the Chamber of Deputies counted 630 members; the electors were in total 1011. The election is held in the Palazzo Montecitorio, home of the Chamber of Deputies, with the capacity of the building being expanded for the purpose. The first three ballots require a two-thirds majority of the voters in order to elect a President, in this election equivalent to 674 votes. Starting from the fourth ballot, an absolute majority is required for candidates to be elected. The election is conducted by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, who has the authority to proceed to the public counting of the votes. The presidential mandate lasts seven years.

Outgoing President Sandro Pertini, was elected in 1978 at the 16th ballot, becoming only the first president from the Italian Socialist Party.

On June 24, Francesco Cossiga, the candidate endorsed by the Christian Democracy, was elected on the first ballot with 752 votes, becoming the first president ever elected on the first ballot. His term officially started with a swearing-in ceremony held on July 3.

1985 in Italy

Events from the year 1985 in Italy

6th G7 summit

The 6th G7 Summit was held at Venice, Italy between June 22 and 23rd, 1980. The venue for the summit meetings was the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the Venetian lagoon.The Group of Seven (G7) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada (since 1976) and the President of the European Commission (starting officially in 1981). The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the first Group of Six (G6) summit in 1975.

Antonio Bisaglia

Antonio Bisaglia (31 March 1929 – 24 June 1984) was an Italian politician, a member of Christian Democracy (Democrazia Cristiana, or DC).

Armed Revolutionary Nuclei

The Armed Revolutionary Nuclei (Italian: Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari), abbreviated NAR, was an Italian neofascist militant organization active from 1977 to November 1981. It committed 33 murders in four years, and had planned to assassinate Francesco Cossiga, Gianfranco Fini and Adolfo Urso. The group maintained close links with the Banda della Magliana, a Rome-based criminal organization, which provided such logistical support as lodging, false papers, weapons, and bombs to the NAR. In November 1981, it was discovered that the NAR hid weapons in the basements of the Health Ministry. The first trial against them sentenced 53 persons on 2 May 1985 on charges of terrorist activities.

Christian Democrats for the Republic

The Christian Democrats for the Republic (Italian: Cristiani Democratici per la Repubblica, CDR) was a Christian-democratic political party in Italy.

The party was formed in February 1998 as a splinter group from the Christian Democratic Centre (CCD), under the leadership of Clemente Mastella, until then CCD president. In June 1998 CDR joined Francesco Cossiga, the United Christian Democrats (CDU) of Rocco Buttiglione, the Segni Pact of Mario Segni, the Liberal Party of Stefano De Luca and some splinters from Forza Italia, National Alliance and Lega Nord to form the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR).In February 1999, after clashes between Mastella and Cossiga, the core of the former CDR launched the Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEur).

D'Alema II Cabinet

The D'Alema II Cabinet was the cabinet of the government of Italy from 22 December 1999 to 26 April 2000.

Following the exit from the majority of the United Christian Democrats led by Rocco Buttiglione and of the Union for the Republic led by Francesco Cossiga, and in order to allow The Democrats to join the government, Massimo D'Alema resigned and formed a new government. The Italian Democratic Socialists, instead, did not participate to the formation of the cabinet and they decided to abstain in the vote of confidence to the new government.

The government stood in office for only 4 months: after the heavy defeat of The Olive Tree at the 2000 regional elections, D'Alema resigned for an "act of political sensitivity".The task of forming a new government was entrusted to Giuliano Amato, already minister in the two D'Alema cabinets.

De Mita Cabinet

The De Mita Cabinet was the 46th cabinet of the Italian Republic. It held office from 1988 to 1989.After being appointed as new president of the Christian Democracy, De Mita was forced to resign due to several hassles between his party and the PSI. After that, President Francesco Cossiga gave the presidential mandate to form a new cabinet to Giovanni Spadolini and then again to De Mita, until, on 23 July 1989, a new government led by Giulio Andreotti was launched.

Democratic Union for the Republic

The Democratic Union for the Republic (Italian: Unione Democratica per la Repubblica, UDR) was a short-lived Christian-democratic and centrist political party in Italy.

It was founded in February 1998 by Francesco Cossiga (former Prime Minister and President) in order to provide a majority in Parliament for the creation of the D'Alema I Cabinet. The party also included Clemente Mastella (ex-Christian Democratic Centre, CCD, then leader of the Christian Democrats for the Republic), Rocco Buttiglione (leader of the United Christian Democrats, CUD), Mario Segni (leader of Segni Pact), Carlo Scognamiglio (ex-Forza Italia, FI), Enrico Ferri (ex-CCD, former leader of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party and European Liberal Social Democracy) and Irene Pivetti (ex-Lega Nord), along with several other MPs elected for the centre-right. Cossiga'a sim was to facilitate the creation of a centre-left governments without the support of the Communist Refoundation Party. The UDR was initially only a federation of parties, but in June CDR, CDU and the Segni Pact merged to form a united party and Mastella was elected secretary.

After disagreements between Cossiga and Mastella, the party broke up in February 1999. Most party members rallied behind Mastella and joined his Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEUR). Those around Cossiga formed the Union for the Republic (UpR), whose leading members (Angelo Sanza, Giorgio Rebuffa, etc.), entered in FI in 2001. The most notable exception was Carlo Scognamiglio who joined the Federation of Italian Liberals, and then European Democracy and the Pact of Liberal Democrats. Buttiglione had previously re-established the CDU, as Segni did with his Pact, while Ferri joined FI.

Francesco Carmelo Salerno

Francesco Salerno (September 9, 1925 – October 17, 1998) was an Italian politician.

Lawyer, publicist and member of the Christian Democracy political party, he was appointed Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister office in 1979, during the presidency of Francesco Cossiga.

In addition to achieving high positions in Italian politics, he was for 22 years president of the Matera football club.

Giuseppe Cossiga

Giuseppe Cossiga (born 30 October 1963) is an Italian politician, member of the Forza Italia party (The People of Freedom, PdL). He became Undersecretary of State for Defence in the cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi on 12 May 2008.He is the son of the former Italian Prime Minister and former President of the Italian Republic Francesco Cossiga.

Legislature VIII of Italy

Legislature VIII of Italy (Italian: VIII Legislatura della Repubblica Italiana) was the legislature of Italy which lasted from 20 July 1979 until 11 July 1983.

Cossiga I Cabinet

4 August 1979 – 4 April 1980

President of the Council of Ministers: Francesco Cossiga (DC)

Composition of the government : DC, PSDI, PLI

Cossiga II Cabinet

4 April 1980 – 18 October 1980

President of the Council of Ministers: Francesco Cossiga (DC)

Composition of the government : DC, PSI, PRI

Forlani Cabinet

18 October 1980 – 28 June 1981

President of the Council of Ministers: Arnaldo Forlani (DC)

Composition of the government : DC, PSI, PRI, PSDI

Spadolini I Cabinet

28 June 1981 – 23 August 1982

President of the Council of Ministers: Giovanni Spadolini (PRI)

Composition of the government : DC, PSI, PSDI, PRI, PLI

Spadolini II Cabinet

23 August 1982 – 1 December 1982

President of the Council of Ministers: Giovanni Spadolini (PRI)

Composition of the government : DC, PSI, PSDI, PRI, PLI

Fanfani V Cabinet

1 December 1982 – 4 August 1983

President of the Council of Ministers: Amintore Fanfani (DC)

Composition of the government : DC, PSI, PSDI, PLI

List of Senators for life in Italy

The President of the Italian Republic has the right to appoint five citizens senators for life "for outstanding patriotic merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". Former Presidents are ex officio senators with life tenure.

Current senators are in bold.

List of nicknames of Prime Ministers of Italy

This is a list of nicknames of Prime Ministers of Italy. Lot of Prime Ministers have had a nickname which was in common usage at the time they were in office. Many nicknames can be perceived as disparaging although others are complimentary or affectionate.

Pasquale Chessa

Pasquale Chessa, born in Alghero, is an Italian historian and journalist.

He first appeared on cultural programs for the Italian National Radio and then, in turn, worked on the Italian magazines L'espresso, L'Europeo, Epoca and Panorama.

In 1995, he edited the speeches of the Italian President Francesco Cossiga titled Il torto e il diritto.

He authored in 1995 a book of interviews with the historian Renzo De Felice titled Rosso e il nero. Again with Cossiga, in 2003, he co-authored Per carità di Patria. On the theme of Italian history in the first half of the 20th century he has authored: in 2005 Guerra Civile 43–45 a photographic history; in 2007 Italiani sono sempre gli altri, with Francesco Cossiga; in 2008 Dux. Benito Mussolini a biography in pictures; in 2010 L'Ultima lettera di Benito with Barbara Raggi.

Released in the month preceding the historic 2013 reelection of President Giorgio Napolitano he is author of L'ultimo comunista. La presa del potere di Giorgio Napolitano His work is published in Italian with some translations into French.

He is currently director of the Alguer.it, the newspaper of Alghero in Sardinia and lives between Rome and Paris.

Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations

Permanent Representatives of Italy to the United Nations from October 1, 1947

Sardinian Democratic Union

The Sardinian Democratic Union – Nationalist Project (Unione Democratica Sarda – Progetto Nazionalitario, UDS) is a regionalist Christian-democratic political party in Sardinia. Its leader is Mario Floris, a former Christian Democrat who was President of the Region from 1999 to 2001.

The party was founded in 1998 as Sardinian section of Democratic Union for the Republic of Francesco Cossiga, a Sardinian who had been Prime Minister and President of Italy. In the 1999 regional election Floris won 6.2% as candidate for president, while the party won 4.1% and three regional councillors.

In the 2004 regional election the UDS won 3.9% of the vote and two regional councillors. After that, the party became a stable regional ally of The People of Freedom (PdL).

In the 2009 regional election, in coalition with the centre-right, the UDS won 3.5% of the vote and got two regional councillors elected (Floris and a member of the New Italian Socialist Party). In the 2010 provincial elections the party was strongest in the Province of Cagliari, where it won 3.8% of the vote.Since 2008 the party was for a while the regional section of the Alliance of the Centre, a small party that was later merged into PdL.In the 2014 regional election the UDS obtained 2.6% of the vote and Floris was once again re-elected to the Council.

The Clover

The Clover (Italian: Il Trifoglio) was a centrist coalition of Italian political parties.

It was launched on 27 October 1999 and led by Francesco Cossiga, who supported the D'Alema I Cabinet since its formation via his Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR). The idea of The Clover was to unify those political forces within the majority which felt marginalised. The coalition was composed of three parties:

the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI, social-democratic, leader: Enrico Boselli)

the Union for the Republic (UpR, Christian-democratic and liberal, leader: Francesco Cossiga)

the Italian Republican Party (PRI, liberal, leader: Giorgio La Malfa)The coalition was responsible of bringing down the D'Alema I Cabinet (Massimo D'Alema resigned on 18 December) and decided not to enter into the D'Alema II Cabinet. At that point The Clover had 18 deputies, eight senators and two ministers: Carlo Scognamiglio Pasini (UpR, Defence) and Angelo Piazza (SDI, Public Administration).

On 8 February 2000, after Cossiga had hinted at the possibility of making an alliance with the centre-right Pole of Freedoms, SDI left the coalition, while some of its members, including Claudio Martelli and Bobo Craxi, formed the Socialist League, which replaced SDI as third component of The Clover.Since then, the coalition was loosened and each party started to take autonomous decisions, but by the 2001 general election all the three groups had joined the centre-right House of Freedoms coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi in different ways: the Socialist League took part to the foundation of the New Italian Socialist Party, PRI signed an electoral pact with Forza Italia and UpR merged into that party.

Union for the Republic (Italy)

The Union for the Republic (Italian: Unione per la Repubblica, UpR) was a centrist political party in Italy.

It was formed by Francesco Cossiga and his followers after the break-up of the Democratic Union for the Republic (UDR) in November 1999.

Right after, the UpR formed a short-lived centrist alliance called The Clover with the Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) and Italian Republican Party (PRI), which was responsible for the fall of the D'Alema I Cabinet on 18 December. Consequently, the UpR did not enter in D'Alema II Cabinet.

Most of UpR members, with the notable exception of Carlo Scognamiglio, joined Forza Italia prior to the 2001 general election.

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