Legislature III of Italy

The Legislature III of Italy (Italian: III Legislatura della Repubblica Italiana) was the 3rd legislature of the Italian Republic, and lasted from 12 June 1958 until 15 May 1963.[1][2] Its composition was the one resulting from the general election of 25 May 1958.

Legislature III of Italy

III legislatura della Repubblica Italiana
3rd legislature
HousesChamber of Deputies
Senate of the Republic
Founded12 June 1958 (1958-06-12)
Disbanded15 May 1963 (1963-05-15)
(4 years, 337 days)
Preceded byII Legislature
Succeeded byIV Legislature
Cesare Merzagora, Ind
since 12 June 1958
Giovanni Leone, DC
since 12 June 1958
Seats596 (C)
246+ (S)
Italian Chamber of Deputies 1958.svg
Chamber of Deputies political groups
  •   DC (273)
  •   PCI (140)
  •   PSI (84)
  •   MSI (24)
  •   PSDI (22)
  •   PLI (17)
  •   PMP (14)
  •   PNM (11)
  •   PRI (6)
  •   SVP (3)
  •   MC (1)
  •   UV (1)
Italian Senate 1958.svg
Senate political groups
Last general election
25 May 1958
Meeting place
Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome (C)
Palazzo Madama, Rome (S)
Third Legislature – Chamber of Deputies
Third Legislature – Senate
Constitution of Italy

Main chronologyEdit

In the 1958 general election, Amintore Fanfani, as secretary of the Christian Democrats, run as the main candidate to become the next Prime Minister. The electoral result was similar to the one of five years before. Christian Democracy (DC) gained 42.4% of votes, nearly doubling Palmiro Togliatti's Communist Party, which arrived second. However, the poor results of the other small centrist and secular parties kept the same problems of political instability within the centrist coalition, which characterised the previous legislature.[3]

Christian Democracy resulted even more polarized between Fanfani's leftist faction and the opposite one which urged for a rightist policy; Fanfani relaunched his reformist agenda, advocating for a dialogue with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), which had stopped its ties with the communists after the Hungarian Revolution.[4] However, a government between DC and PSI was too premature due to the strong opposition of DC's right-wing, so, on 1 July 1958, Fanfani sworn in as new Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government with the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI), and a case-by-case support of the Italian Republican Party (PRI).[5]

The unprecedented concentration of power that Fanfani had achieved within this party was the main reason of his second government's decline. The outrageous conservative opposition resulted in a progressive breakdown of the internal majority faction, "Democratic Initiative".[6] In January 1959, a conspicuous group of Christian Democrats started voting against their own government, forcing Fanfani to resign on 26 January 1959, after only six months in power.[7]

On 16 February 1959, Antonio Segni, member of the right-wing faction of the party, sworn in as new Prime Minister.[8] Segni formed a one-party government, composed only by members of the Christian Democracy, which was externally supported by minor centre-right and right-wing parties, included the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). However in March 1960, the Italian Liberal Party (PLI) withdrew its support to the government and Segni was forced to resign.

President Giovanni Gronchi then gave Fernando Tambroni the task of forming a new cabinet. Tambroni formed a one-party cabinet composed only by DC members, with the sole external support of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), a unique case in the history of the Italian Republic. On 8 April, the Chamber of Deputies gave the confidence vote to government, with the fundamental support of the MSI. However, the neo-fascist vital support created growing tensions within the DC and with some ministers who threatened their resignations, Tambroni was forced to resign. President Gronchi gave then the task of forming a new cabinet to Fanfani, to verify the possibility of starting a centre-left government. However, he was opposed by an important part of the DC, so Tambroni returned to the Senate, where he received the confidence vote on 29 April.[9]

Tambroni listed among the main focus of his government's program the institution of regions with a special statute for Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the reform of local finances, the modernization of public administration, a wide program of social and economic interventions, the reorganization of the state railways and a new foreign policy to improve bilateral relations with emerging countries like China, India and Arab countries.[10] However, the most controversial decision of his cabinet, was the permission to the MSI to hold its national congress in Genoa, one of the capitals of Italian Resistance against Fascism.[11] This move was considered by the public opinion as a further and unacceptable opening to the neo-fascists, by the government.

On 30 June 1960, a large demonstration summoned by the left-wing CGIL trade union and by other leftist forces in the streets of Genoa was heavily suppressed by the Italian police.[12] Other popular demonstrations in Reggio Emilia, Rome, Palermo, Catania, Licata again saw violent intervention by the police, causing several deaths. On July 7, while news of the demonstrators killed in Reggio Emilia arrived in the Chamber, Tambroni only spoke about "unpleasant incidents", stating the government's willingness was to do "its duty to defend the state and the free institutions".[13] Moreover, the interior minister, Giuseppe Spataro, accused the PCI of having stirred up the riots.[14]

On 8 July, the political situation was so worrying that the President of the Senate, Cesare Merzagora, with an unprecedented practice and not informing the President of the Republic, proposed, finding support also in the President of the Chamber Giovanni Leone, a fifteen-day truce, with the return of the police to the barracks and the consequent stop of anti-fascist protests. This effectively delegitimized the actions of Tambroni and Spataro, and represented the beginning of the government crisis.[15] On 19 July, when many members of his own party, withdrew their supports to the government, Tambroni was forced to resign, after only 116 days in power.[16]

President Gronchi then decided to ask again Amintore Fanfani to forma new government. Fanfani's third government officially sworn in in July 1960 and was formed only by DC ministers. The cabinet was externally supported by PSDI, PRI and PLI.[17] With Fanfani as Prime Minister and Aldo Moro as Secretary of the party, the so-called Organic Centre-left period was ready to begin.[18]

Fanfani IV Cabinet in front of the Chamber of Deputies in March 1962

In February 1962, after the national congress of the Christian Democracy, Fanfani reorganised his cabinet and gained the benign abstention of the socialist leader Pietro Nenni.[19] During this term as Prime Minister Fanfani carried out a number of reforms in areas such as health, education, and social security. On 8 April 1962 the cabinet introduced broad provisions covering building areas. Local governments were obliged to provide plans of areas suitable for economic housing, while strict price controls for building areas were introduced to prevent speculation.[20]

On 31 December 1962, the Parliament approved a law that extended compulsory education to the age of 14 and introduced a single unified curriculum, lasting for a 3-year period after primary education.[20] On 12 August 1962, Fanfani introduced a supplementary pension payment, equal to one-twelfth of the annual amount of pension minima, while also introducing child supplements for pensioners.[20] Moreover, on 5 March 1963, he introduced a voluntary pension insurance scheme for housewives.[20] On 19 January 1963, the government proposed a bill that extended the insurance against occupational diseases to artisans, while general improvements to cash benefits were carried out: all pensions were to be adjusted every third year to the minimum contractual wage in the respective industrial sector, while earnings-replacement rates were raised to correspond to contractual disability rates.[20] In February 1963, improved health benefits for agricultural workers, with the introduction of free pharmaceutical assistance and the flat-rate sickness indemnity replaced by an earnings-related indemnity equal to 50% of minimum contractual pay (in each province) for a maximum of 180 days.[20]

In his three years rule, thanks to the key support of the PSI, Fanfani approved the nationalization of Enel, the national electric company and the establishment of middle school, the introduction of share taxation. Only the implementation of the ordinary statute regions and the urban reform remained uncompleted, due to a strong internal opposition within the DC. Moreover, the new international balance of power marked by the presidency of John F. Kennedy, influenced Western politics in favor of reformism, as the best alternative to defeat communism.

Presidential electionEdit

On 2 May 1962 the Parliament met to elect the third President of Italy. On 6 May 1962 the christian democrat Antonio Segni was elected on the ninth ballot with 443 votes out of 854.


Portrait Prime Minister Party Term of office Government Composition
Took office Left office
  Amintore Fanfani
DC 1 July 1958 16 February 1959 Fanfani II DC  • PSDI
  Antonio Segni
DC 16 February 1959 25 March 1960 Segni II DC
(with MSI, PLI, PMP and PNM's external support)
  Fernando Tambroni
DC 25 March 1960 26 July 1960 Tambroni DC
(with MSI's external support)
  Amintore Fanfani
DC 26 July 1960 21 February 1962 Fanfani III DC
(with PSDI, PLI and PRI's external support)
21 February 1962 21 June 1963 Fanfani IV DC  • PSDI  • PRI
(with PSI's external support)
Confidence votes

Fanfani II CabinetEdit

10–19 July 1958
Investiture votes for Fanfani II Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 241 of 257,
Majority: 121)
128 / 241
111 / 241
Abstention SVP
2 / 241
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 582 of 596,
Majority: 291)
295 / 582
287 / 582

Segni II CabinetEdit

24 February–6 March 1959
Investiture votes for Segni II Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 581 of 596,
Majority: 291)
333 / 581
248 / 581
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 240 of 257,
Majority: 121)
143 / 240
97 / 240

Tambroni CabinetEdit

4–29 April 1960
Investiture votes for Tambroni Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 593 of 596,
Majority: 297)
 Y Yes DC, MSI
300 / 593
293 / 593
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 238 of 257,
Majority: 120)
 Y Yes DC, MSI
128 / 238
110 / 238

Fafani III CabinetEdit

2–5 August 1960
Investiture votes for Fanfani III Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 220 of 257,
Majority: 111)
126 / 220
58 / 220
Abstention PSI, PNM, PDI
36 / 220
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 446 of 590,
Majority: 224)
310 / 446
156 / 446

Fanfani IV CabinetEdit

2–15 March 1962
Investiture votes for Zoli Cabinet
House of Parliament Vote Parties Votes
Chamber of Deputies
(Voting: 490 of 590,
Majority: 246)
295 / 490
195 / 490
Senate of the Republic
(Voting: 190 of 257,
Majority: 96)
122 / 190
68 / 190

Parliamentary compositionEdit

Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Giovanni Leone, President of the Chamber of Deputies
Parliamentary groups in the Chamber of Deputies
Initial composition[21]
(12 June 1958)
Final composition[21]
(15 May 1963)
Parliamentary group Seats Parliamentary group Seats Change
Christian Democracy 273 Christian Democracy 275   2
Italian Communist Party 143 Italian Communist Party 140   3
Italian Socialist Party 84 Italian Socialist Party 86   2
Italian Social Movement 24 Italian Social Movement 25   1
Italian Democratic Socialist Party 22 Italian Democratic Socialist Party 19   3
Italian Liberal Party 17 Italian Liberal Party 23   6
People's Monarchist Party 14 Italian Democratic Party 10   4
Monarchist National Party 11 Monarchist National Party 10   1
Mixed 11 Mixed 11  
Italian Republican Party 6 Italian Republican Party 6  
Südtiroler Volkspartei 3 Südtiroler Volkspartei 3  
Community Movement 1 Community Movement 1  
Union Valdôtaine 1 Union Valdôtaine 1  
Total seats 596 Total seats 596  

Senate of the RepublicEdit

Cesare Merzagora, President of the Senate
Parliamentary groups in the Senate of the Republic
Initial composition[22]
(12 June 1958)
Final composition[22]
(15 May 1963)
Parliamentary group Seats Parliamentary group Seats Change
Christian Democracy 123 Christian Democracy 120   3
Italian Communist Party 60 Italian Communist Party 56   4
Italian Socialist Party 36 Italian Socialist Party 25   1
SocialMonarchist 10 SocialMonarchist 13   3
Mixed 28 Mixed 33   5
Italian Democratic Socialist Party 5 Italian Democratic Socialist Party 5  
People's Monarchist Party 5 Italian Democratic Party 5  
Italian Liberal Party 4 Italian Liberal Party 4  
Südtiroler Volkspartei 2 Südtiroler Volkspartei 2  
Independents – Non inscrits 12 Independents – Non inscrits 17   5
Total seats 257 Total seats 257  

Senators for LifeEdit

Senator Motivation Appointed by From Till
Enrico De Nicola Former President of Italy ex officio Previous legislature 3 October 1959 (deceased)
Pietro Canonica Merits in the artistic field President Luigi Einaudi Previous legislature 8 June 1959 (deceased)
Pasquale Jannaccone Merits in the social field President Luigi Einaudi Previous legislature 22 December 1959 (deceased)
Luigi Sturzo Merits in the social field President Luigi Einaudi Previous legislature 8 August 1959 (deceased)
Umberto Zanotti Bianco Merits in the artistic and social field President Luigi Einaudi Previous legislature Next legislature
Luigi Einaudi Former President of Italy ex officio Previous legislature 30 October 1961 (deceased)
Giuseppe Paratore Merits in the social field President Giovanni Gronchi Previous legislature Next legislature
Giovanni Gronchi Former President of Italy ex officio 11 May 1962 Next legislature
Cesare Merzagora Merits in the social field President Antonio Segni 2 March 1963 Next legislature
Ferruccio Parri Merits in the social field President Antonio Segni 2 March 1963 Next legislature
Meuccio Ruini Merits in the social and scientific field President Antonio Segni 2 March 1963 Next legislature


  1. ^ "Camera dei Deputati – 3ª Legislatura". www.storia.camera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 6 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Senato della Repubblica – 3ª Legislatura". www.senato.it (in Italian). Retrieved 6 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Elezioni del 1958, Ministero dell'Interno
  4. ^ Ungheria, la rottura tra PCI e PSI
  5. ^ Governo Fanfani II, senato.it
  6. ^ 1958 – 1963, II governo Fanfani
  7. ^ Italy's Fanfan, Time Magazine, 16 June 1961
  8. ^ Governo Segni I, senato.it
  9. ^ Composizione del Governo Tambroni, Senato della Repubblica
  10. ^ Chamber of Deputies, Atti Parlamentari. Discussioni, III Legislatura, 4 April 1960, page 13424
  11. ^ Il governo Tambroni, Rai Scuola
  12. ^ 30 giugno 1960: il “No pasaràn!” di Genova (e quel che accadde prima e dopo), Genova 24
  13. ^ Camera dei Deputati, Atti Parlamentari. Discussioni, III Legislatura, 7 July 1960, page 15700–15701
  14. ^ Camera dei Deputati, Atti Parlamentari. Discussioni, III Legislatura, 7 July 1960, page 157689
  15. ^ La rivolta di Genova nelle parole di chi c'era, Alessandro Benna, Lucia Compagnino, Fratelli Frilli Editore, 30 June 1960
  16. ^ Governo Tambroni, www.governo.it
  17. ^ Governo Fanfani III, governo.it
  18. ^ Il centrosinistra – Storia, Rai Cultura
  19. ^ A Sinistra?, Time Magazine, 12 January 1962
  20. ^ a b c d e f Growth to Limits: The Western European Welfare States Since World War II Volume 4 edited by Peter Flora
  21. ^ a b "III Legislatura della Repubblica italiana / Legislature / Camera dei deputati – Portale storico". storia.camera.it (in Italian). Retrieved 6 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ a b "senato.it – Composizione dei gruppi parlamentari nella III Legislatura". www.senato.it (in Italian). Retrieved 6 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)