During the negotiations for the formation of the new ministry, led by the president of the DC A. Forlani, a long and hard labor conflict at FIAT ended unexpectedly, born from the announcement of drastic cuts in labor. The union reacted with the blockade of the factories and the PCI, with a speech delivered by Berlinguer in Turin on September 26, had expressed its support for an intensification of the struggle that would lead to the occupation of the factories. Some tactical moves by FIAT and above all the great procession of forty thousand middle managers who crossed the streets of Turin on October 14 asking for the cessation of the strikes and the reopening of the factories, forced the union to surrender. The dispute was an exemplary proof of the role and powers of the trade union in the factory.
A little more than a month after its constitution, the new four-party government chaired by Forlani and made up of DC, PSI, PSDI and PRI, had to face the dramatic consequences of a huge natural catastrophe. On 23 November 1980 an earthquake struck Campania and Basilicata, killing thousands and causing widespread destruction, especially in Irpinia. The slowness of the relief efforts and the overall inefficiency of the state struck public opinion and aroused widespread protests which the President of the Republic interpreted in a message to the nation. A few days later, on November 27, also prompted by popular indignation for the image of the collapse shown by the public authorities on the occasion of the earthquake,
Beyond the question, discussed and controversial, whether the slogans of the PCI of the time and subsequent years – austerity and the moral question – could be politically productive for those who agitated them, it was a fact that scandals continued to touch. political leaders and state apparatuses. Just in that autumn 1980 a gigantic fraud perpetrated against the State with the evasion of the diesel tax had come to light and the investigations had involved, among many others, a former commander and a former chief of staff of the guard of finance, i.e. the tax police.
To increase the difficulties of the executive, the kidnapping (12 December) of the magistrate G. D’Urso, director of the Institutes of prevention and punishment of the Ministry of Grace and Justice, by the Red Brigades ignited again the conflicts between the line of firmness and more possible positions. Faced with the requests of the terrorists who demanded the abolition of special prisons, the PSI was more available while the radicals offered their mediation. A series of events linked to the D’Urso kidnapping followed: on December 24 the Asinara special prison was closed, on the 28th a revolt broke out in that of Trani where the terrorists captured eighteen hostages, on the 29th the revolt was quelled by the departments special, on the 31st the BR killed the carabinieri general E. Galvaligi responsible for prison surveillance services. At the beginning of January 1981 a debate was opened in the press and among the political forces on the request of the RBs to obtain the circulation of their press releases in exchange for the release of the kidnapped magistrate. Socialists and radicals, in favor of accepting the RB proposal, clashed with the opposition of a large part of the independent press, republicans and communists. On 15 January D’Urso was released after some newspapers had published the documents of the terrorists detained and after the magistrate’s daughter had read a leaflet from the RB in a television space reserved for the radical party. The conclusion of the affair did not extinguish the polemics between the political forces and the government had to place confidence in its work.
According to GLOBALSCIENCELLC.COM, the scandals, the divisions between the parties and the continuous demonstrations of inefficiency of the executive fueled, in the first months of 1981, a debate on the hypothesis of institutional reform such as the modification of electoral laws, the strengthening of the powers of the Prime Minister, etc.. It was above all Craxi’s PSI that brought these issues to the table, just as the socialist secretary would always be the one who subsequently posed the question of the passage to a presidential republic, which until then had been advocated only by the right. Even the recurring abrogative referendums, a sign of a mobilization outside the political equilibrium, added perplexity to the efficiency of Parliament and favored reflections on the corrective measures to be introduced into the system.
On 17-18 May, after a propaganda campaign full of contrasts and which had become even more tense due to the attack on Pope John Paul II carried out on 13 May by a Turkish terrorist, five referendums were held. Two on abortion, one proposed by the Movement for Life, the other by the Radicals (see above), and the other three, still by radical initiative, for the abolition of the Cossiga law on public order, life imprisonment and the firearms license. The radicals’ referendums were rejected with very high percentages, that of Catholics on abortion with a lower percentage of ” no ”, but still quite high (68%), confirming a widespread secularization of Italian society.
In the same month of May, on the 26th, the Forlani ministry resigned overwhelmed by the explosion of a new very serious scandal. During the investigations promoted by the parliamentary commission on the case of the financier M. Sindona, responsible for bankruptcy and illegal party financing, the existence of a covered Masonic lodge emerged, ” Propaganda 2 ” known as ” P2 ”, and of a long list of over nine hundred members or aspiring members among which were ministers and politicians, senior military leaders especially the secret services, financiers, journalists, etc. At the head of the lodge was L. Gelli, a character with unclear contours, linked to the secret services, the bearer of authoritarian projects, considered extremely influential in certain political, military and bureaucratic circles. To many, logging into the lodge had appeared as the path to career acceleration or protection. In fact, at its top there was a nucleus that effortlessly mixed businessism, subversion of the right, objectives of control of the most reserved sectors of public power.
After a fruitless attempt to reshuffle, Forlani was re-appointed on May 28, but had to give up on June 10. The task of forming the government was then entrusted to G. Spadolini, historian and journalist, who became, after the death of U. La Malfa, leader of the PRI. Spadolini succeeded in his intent and on June 28 he launched a ” five-party ” government, made up of DC, PSI, PSDI, PRI, PLI, the first ministry led by a layman after thirty-six years, that is, since the time of F. Parri. One of the first measures of the Spadolini government was to dissolve the P2 lodge, on whose work a parliamentary commission of inquiry will be appointed. The military and secret service leaders compromised with the P2 will be completely renewed.