ITALY: Close Decision

For two suspense-filled days last week, tellers sweated beneath the gimlet gaze of party watchers to tally the results of Italy's national elections. In the deluge of 28 million ballots—representing a remarkable 93.7% of the electorate—rested a nation's choice between parliamentary democracy or chaos. The decision: democracy, in a perilously close race.

The winner emerged a weakened but not a discouraged champion. In 1948 Premier Alcide de Gasperi's Christian Democrats and their center allies won 62% of the vote and a big majority in the Chamber of Deputies. This time they won a narrow edge in the Senate, but, though the...

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