Italy: Rumor Has It Again

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After one of the longest political crises in its postwar history, Italy last week had a government again. It was headed by Mariano Rumor, the same man who 32 days earlier had seen his coalition of Socialists and Christian Democrats fall apart (TIME, July 18). Un able to reconstruct the old relationship because of a schism among the Socialists, Rumor this time built a monocolore, or one-party government from his own Christian Democrats.

It is not the soundest government that Italy has ever had. It commands no majority in the Chamber of Deputies and must rely on its former Socialist allies for cooperation. Moreover, Rumor has agreed to disband his government as soon as the Socialists patch up their quarrels and are once more able to participate in a coalition.

Despite these limitations, Rumor collected an impressive 25-man cabinet that includes some competent former ministers and new faces from all eight fac tions of the Christian Democrats. For mer Premier Aldo Moro (1963-68) is Foreign Minister. Emilio Colombo, one of the architects of Il Boom, Italy's continuing prosperity, remains in his old job at the Treasury. Leftist Carlo Donat-Cattin, a newcomer to the Cabinet who favors increased cooperation with the Communist Party, is Labor Minister. Rumor has the promise of the Socialists that they will help him pass several reform bills, including one to modernize It aly's archaic universities, another to finance new regional governments.

Ultimate Weapon. It took Rumor long enough to form the new government. After three unsuccessful attempts he resorted to what is known in Italian politics as The Ultimate Weapon: he threatened to advise President Giuseppe Saragat to call new elections. Few people hate the expense of campaigning more than Italians, and many of the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies are still paying off campaign debts from last year's national elections.

Emerging temporarily from his self-imposed exile, Veteran Socialist Leader Pietro Nenni, 78, persuaded his fractured party to support the monocolore until a new coalition could be formed, possibly some time next spring.

Rumor also had a powerful ally in Rome's sweltering August heat, which has already driven about 200,000 res idents to seaside and mountains. This week, after the Italian Senate approves Italy's 31st postwar government, the Deputies will hasten to join them.