Italy: A Grand Master's Conspiracy

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The party with more realistic hopes of gaining from the scandal, however, is the Socialist. Its ebullient leader, Bettino Craxi, who tried and failed in 1979 to form a government, is hoping that President Pertini, also a Socialist, will give him another chance to try to end the Christian Democrats' 35-year monopoly on the premiership. The country's political fate thus depends on the President, who, at 84, is one of the few politicians in Italy who enjoys general trust and respect. After last week's stunning revelations, it was no wonder that one Italian weekly headlined its editorial: ST. PERTINI, SAVE US.

—By George Russell.

Reported by Wilton Wynn/Rome

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