Oscar Luigi Scalfaro served as the president of Italy from 1992 to 1999. He was a member of the Christian Democratic party. Following the DC’s dissolution, he became an independent politician. When the centre-left Democratic Party was founded in 2007, he was a close ally.
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was born on September 9, 1918, in Novara, Italy. After graduating from law school, he entered the magistrature on 21 October 1942. He became a public prosecutor in 1945, and, at the end of his career, he was the last Italian attorney to obtain a death sentence. His work in the public prosecutor’s office was highlighted by his prosecution of a former Novara prefect who had allegedly collaborated with the German invaders.
Scalfaro’s career was not without controversy. In addition to serving as Italian President, he served as life Senator for Italy. Life senators are normally centre-left politicians whose primary role is to defend the Italian constitution. As a result, the left began to regard Scalfaro as “the father of the country,” despite the fact that he was a conservative politician.
Although a devout Catholic and a conservative, Scalfaro’s career was marred by political scandals. A corruption scandal in Milan exposed Scalfaro’s government’s widespread corruption. In exchange for government contracts, businessmen paid bribes to local officials. These inflated costs were passed on to the taxpayer, allowing the corrupt businessmen to maintain their influence.
Scalfaro’s career began as a magistrate. In the years following the end of World War II, he continued his political career by becoming a member of the Chamber of Deputies. In May 1992, he was elected President. In the 1990s, he was a vocal critic of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. When Berlusconi stepped down in 1994, Scalfaro was elected as Senator for life. He later joined the Democratic Party of Italy.
In 1994, Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro rejected Berlusconi’s nomination of former Salo Republic member Mirko Tremaglia to become a minister. Because of Tremaglia’s fascist past, Scalfaro nixed the appointment. However, Tremaglia eventually secured a cabinet position in Berlusconi’s government.
Scalfaro was born in Novara, Piedmont. His early life was marked by scandals. He joined Catholic Action, the only legal non-fascist organization, at the age of twelve. He then went on to graduate from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. During this period, his first wife, Marianna Inzitari, died and he promised to dedicate himself to his daughter. The two married in 1954. However, in 1993, Scalfaro faced accusations of theft of millions of dollars to fund covert secret service operations.
While Berlusconi was critical of Scalfaro, he stopped short of calling for his resignation. Both men sought to rid the Second Republic of Italy of its corrupt past. Scalfaro’s involvement in the 1992 Parliament was a source of friction. Scalfaro interpreted the Constitution very strictly, which created obstacles for Berlusconi’s electoral reforms.
During this time, Berlusconi was investigated by Milan prosecutors. The investigation into the corruption allegations against him involved bribes paid by the Fininvest conglomerate to government tax auditors. The Northern League subsequently broke with the coalition and allied with PDS and PPI to pass legislation to review the broadcasting industry.
Despite this setback, Scalfaro’s relationship with Berluscni’s party proved fruitful. The former Christian Democrat had worked closely with Berlusconi as a minister, and his relationship with the former premier was very positive. Despite the problems that surrounded the Italian government, the president remained committed to national unity.
The relationship between Scalfaro and Berlusconi was not easy, but the two leaders have remained close. Neither party was eager to accept the other’s proposal to dissolve parliament and hold new elections. However, Berlusconi and Scalfaro have not made a public response.
Berlusconi’s political career started in 1994, when he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. In his first term as Prime Minister, his party won the election but lost to Prodi II. In the following years, Berlusconi resigned from the Cabinet and he became a Senator.
After a two-week political deadlock that ended in the death of an anti-mafia magistrate, Scalfaro was elected President of the Italian Republic. His term as President ended in May 1999 and he was automatically elected to the Senate for life. Scalfaro was also responsible for censorship of theatre and cinema. He banned nudity from Italian films, cut a play by Jean-Paul Sartre, and prohibited the broadcast of Tolstoy’s Resurrection.
The former president of Italy was caught up in a scandal that destroyed the Christian Democratic and Socialist parties. The scandal left almost 40 per cent of the parliament under investigation, and Italians’ trust in their political leaders dropped to a new low. Scalfaro, however, played a crucial role in holding Italy together. Unlike his political rivals, he never kissed his ring, and he stuck by Italy’s secular constitution.
Born in 1918 in the Piedmont region of Italy, Mr. Scalfaro had a long political career linked to the Christian Democratic Party, which dominated Italian politics for almost 40 years. In 1946, Scalfaro was elected to Italy’s constituent assembly and then to the lower house of parliament in the first general election. He was re-elected to the Italian parliament every four years until 1992.
A devout Roman Catholic, Scalfaro attended Mass early in the morning every day. A small, balding man, Scalfaro was known for his frequent conversations with the Virgin Mary. However, a scandal involving him and a young woman in Rome in 1950 led to him being nicknamed “Italy’s chief prig.”
Scalfaro was a renowned media tycoon turned politician. His government lasted seven months and was replaced by a temporary administration that was supported by all political parties. In 1996, Romano Prodi became premier. Despite the political turmoil, Scalfaro remained unwavering and emerged as a supreme guarantor of the Second Republic. His openness and lack of inhibitions enabled him to criticize Chirac’s nuclear tests and condemned the death penalty in the US and excessive use of pre-trial detention in Italy.
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