ITALY: Hammer and Sickle at Half-Mast

Berlinguer's Communists suffer a stunning defeat

In striking contrast to the cheering and dancing of past election nights, the crowd in front of the Italian Communist Party (P.C.I.) headquarters in Rome was as somber as a cortege. As Party Boss Enrico Berlinguer stepped dejectedly out onto the balcony, there was only a desultory round of applause. His message could not have been less triumphant: Berlinguer acknowledged what he called an "appreciable variation with respect to our exceptional advances of 1976." When someone dutifully unfurled the red hammer-and-sickle flag from the balcony,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!