Italian Christian Democratic Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga resigned on Wednesday (19 March) after his minority coalition government lost vital support in Parliament.
SV Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga speaking in Italian in Parliament
SV Cossiga speaking
SV members of parliament listening
SV Cossiga continues speech
SV Christian Democrat leader Guilio Andreotti talking to officials
SCU Christian Democrat leaders talking (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Italian Christian Democratic Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga resigned on Wednesday (19 March) after his minority coalition government lost vital support in Parliament. The seven-month-old Government collapsed after the third-ranking Socialist Party announced it would no longer keep it alive by abstaining on key Parliamentary votes.
SYNOPSIS: Mr Cossiga is staying on as caretaker Prime Minister. Before going to see President Pertini he joined in a Parliamentary debate on the future of his government. Mr Cossiga told Parliament that Italy badly needed political stability. He said the people had a right to see their public institutions functioning more efficiently. He also reminded it that Italy would be hosting summits of the European community and the seven major industrialised democracies in Venice in June.
The government has recently faced a violent challenge to its authority from far-left urban guerrillas who have killed three magistrates this week and seem to be stepping up their bloody war against the state.
On Thursday (March 20) Christian Democratic Party leaders including Guilio Andreotti met to discuss the political crises. Italy will be holding local elections in June but President Pertini must find a successor to Mr Cossiga to form an interim government. One solution to the problem could be the formation of a 'truce government' composed of a five-party coalition, including Christian Democrats and Socialists. Alternatively the President could ask Mr Cossiga to lead a one-party Christian Democratic government.