Fanfani, Amintore

Fanfani, Amintore
born Feb. 6, 1908, Pieve Santo Stefano, Italy
died Nov. 20, 1999, Rome

Italian premier who formed and led the centre-left coalition that dominated Italian politics in the late 1950s and '60s.

Elected to Italy's constituent assembly (1946), he became secretary-general of the Christian Democratic Party (1954) after serving briefly as premier. With his party's victory in 1958, he became premier (1958–59) and stressed social reforms. Buoyed by widespread public reaction against rising neofascist activity, he was returned to the premiership (1960–63) and again promoted a reformist program. He gained Italy's election to the UN Security Council (1958) and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1965. He again served as premier in 1982–83 and in 1987.

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▪ 2000

      Italian statesman (b. Feb. 6, 1908, Tuscany, Italy—d. Nov. 20, 1999, Rome, Italy), was six times prime minister of Italy and former president of the United Nations General Assembly. Fanfani was one of the key players in the post-World War II reign of the Christian Democrats that ended in the early 1990s. His legacy included pushing bold social programs that usurped many of the causes of the extreme left. Fanfani graduated from Catholic University in Milan and was an economics lecturer there and at University of Rome La Sapienza, earning the nickname “Little Professor.” He entered politics in 1946 at the request of Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi and became labour minister the following year. Fanfani went on to hold nearly every prominent post in the government except the presidency, which eluded him in two tries. In 1954 Fanfani's first government lasted just 12 days before he resigned after a vote of no confidence. In the early 1960s, he made a name for himself by trying to form a centre-left government with the Socialist Party. His tenure at the head of the UN General Assembly was characterized by attempts to improve East-West relations: he proposed China's admission to the UN and met with a delegation from Hanoi in an effort to end the Vietnam War. After losing his second bid for the presidency, Fanfani was made a senator for life in 1972. In the 1970s he severed his left-wing ties and campaigned for a 1974 referendum to repeal recently passed divorce laws. During his last service as prime minister, in 1987 in a transitional government, he resigned after only 10 days. He remained in office, however, until elections could be held and a new prime minister sworn in. A prolific writer, Fanfani often spoke of how his book Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism was said to have inspired the political career of U.S. Pres. John F. Kennedy.

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▪ prime minister of Italy
born February 6, 1908, Pieve Santo Stefano, Italy
died November 20, 1999, Rome

      politician and teacher who served as Italy's premier six times. He formed and led the centre-left coalition that dominated Italian politics in the late 1950s and '60s.

      A professor of economic history, Fanfani was elected to the Italian Constituent Assembly in 1946. The following year he became minister of labour and social security; in his three years in that post he promoted a plan for urban and rural reconstruction, including plans for workers' housing and the organization of noncommunist labour unions. After having served as minister of agriculture (1951) and of the interior (1953), he formed his own cabinet in January 1954; it fell with the defeat of its program at the end of the month.

      In July 1954 Fanfani was elected secretary-general of the Christian Democratic Party (Italian Popular Party), whose left wing he led. His party's victory in the 1958 general elections allowed him to form another cabinet, whose policy stressed moderate social reform and substantial spending on education. As both premier and foreign minister, he visited many foreign capitals and gained Italy's election to the United Nations Security Council (October 8, 1958). Attacked by the right wing of the Christian Democratic Party, his government fell on January 26, 1959, and on February 1 he resigned as party head.

      Fanfani returned as premier (July 1960–April 1963) after widespread public reaction against increasing neofascist activity, and in 1962 he formed a new cabinet, which leaned toward the left. Its policies stressed nationalizing electric-power generation, regional decentralization, and economic planning.

 He was foreign minister in March 1965 and became president of the United Nations General Assembly (September 21, 1965) in preparation for the visit of Pope Paul VI. He was forced to resign as foreign minister in December 1965 after the premature disclosure of possible peace initiatives he had relayed to the United States from the North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. He resumed the post soon afterward, however, and held it from February 1966 to May 1968. In March 1972 he was appointed a life senator, one of five provided for in the Italian constitution. Fanfani was president of the Senate in 1968–73, 1976–82, and 1985–87. In 1971 he campaigned unsuccessfully for the national presidency but did hold the office as caretaker in 1978 after the resignation of Giovanni Leone. He served as premier for a fifth time from November 1982 to August 1983 and for a sixth and last time during April–July 1987.

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Universalium. 2010.

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