Leaders of Italy's ruling Christian Democrat Party met leaders of the Communist Party in Rome on Thursday (5 day) for their first formal talks in 30 years.
GV EXTERIOR: Parliament building, Rome.
SV: Communist Party President Luigi Longo (in hat) followed by General Secretary Enrico Berlinguer entering parliament.
SEMI CU INTERIOR: Christian Democrat Party President Aldo Moro seated with Party Secretary General Benigno Zaccagnini.
SV: Communist party delegation seated.
CU: Berlinguer ZOOM OUT TO SV AND GV meeting in progress.
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Background: Leaders of Italy's ruling Christian Democrat Party met leaders of the Communist Party in Rome on Thursday (5 day) for their first formal talks in 30 years. They discussed a possible joint legislative programme which could bring the Communists closer to power.
Using almost identical language, Signor Berlinguer and Signor Zaccagnini said after the three-and-half hour meeting that they had found "convergences and divergences:. The Communists, Socialists and other parties have called repeatedly for an end to the system under which they abstain on key votes to keep the minority Christian Democrat government alive. The other parties are also to have talks with the Christian Democrats. Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti has had frequent informal contact with the Communist and other parties over planned legislation since he took office last August. The Communists' long-term goal is a "historic compromise" of sharing power with the Christian Democrats, which the ruling party has so far rejected completely. They have said, however that they would settle temporarily for a parliamentary alliance in which they and other parties jointly planned and approved government legislation, without joining the Cabinet.
SYNOPSIS: The historic meeting was held at the parliament building in the capital.
The ageing President of the Communist Party, Luigi Longo, was followed into the building by the party's general secretary, Enrico Berlinguer.
The Christian Democrats were represented by party president Aldo Moro, and the party's secretary general, Benigno Zaccagnini. it was the first time since a brief coalition government after the Second World War that the Communists had been invited to formal talks on the way Italy is governed.
The Communists want a share of political power and seek a programme which they and the other parties can support in parliament.