|Prime Minister of Italy|
18 October 1980 – 28 June 1981
|Preceded by||Francesco Cossiga|
|Succeeded by||Giovanni Spadolini|
|Deputy Prime Minister of Italy|
4 August 1983 – 18 April 1987
|Prime Minister||Bettino Craxi|
|Preceded by||Ugo La Malfa|
|Succeeded by||Giuliano Amato|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
30 July 1976 – 5 August 1979
|Prime Minister||Giulio Andreotti|
|Preceded by||Mariano Rumor|
|Succeeded by||Franco Maria Malfatti|
|Minister of Defence|
23 November 1974 – 30 July 1976
|Prime Minister||Aldo Moro|
|Preceded by||Giulio Andreotti|
|Succeeded by||Vittorio Lattanzio|
|Secretary of the Christian Democracy|
22 February 1989 – 12 October 1992
|Preceded by||Ciriaco De Mita|
|Succeeded by||Mino Martinazzoli|
9 November 1969 – 17 June 1973
|Preceded by||Flaminio Piccoli|
|Succeeded by||Amintore Fanfani|
|Member of the Chamber of Deputies|
12 June 1958 – 14 April 1994
|Born||8 December 1925|
Pesaro, Kingdom of Italy
|Died||6 July 2023 (aged 97)|
|Alma mater||University of Urbino|
Arnaldo Forlani (Italian: [arˈnaldo forˈlaːni] ⓘ; 8 December 1925 – 6 July 2023) was an Italian politician who served as the prime minister of Italy from 1980 to 1981. He also held the office of deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, and minister of defence.
A member of the right-wing faction of the Christian Democracy (DC) party, Forlani was one of the most prominent Italian politicians from the 1970s to early 1990s. He led the DC party on two occasions: between 1969 and 1973, and between 1989 and 1992. Forlani's permiership, which lasted less than a year, was strongly marked by the 1980 Irpinia earthquake and the P2 lodge scandal, the latter causing his resignation in June 1981.
In 1981, together with Bettino Craxi and Giulio Andreotti, promoted the Pentapartito, the political coalition between the three major Italian parties that ruled Italy between 1981 and 1991. At the time of his death in 2023, he was both the oldest living and the longest-lived Italian prime minister.
Early life and career
Forlani was born on 8 December 1925, in Pesaro, Marche. As a youth he played as a midfielder for Vis Pesaro, in the Serie C of the Italian soccer league. In 1948, after getting a degree in law at the University of Urbino and being elected comunal and provincial councilor, Forlani began his political career, holding the position of provincial secretary of Christian Democracy (DC) for Pesaro.
In 1954 he became a member of the central committee of Christian Democracy, as member of the right-wing faction. The following year, Forlani became director of the party's section Studi, Propaganda e Stampa (S.P.E.S). In the 1958 Italian general election, Forlani was elected in the Chamber of Deputies for the first time. Forlani soon became one of the closest collaborators of Amintore Fanfani, as an exponent of the Nuove Cronache DC current, of which Forlani became its number two in 1959.
In 1962, he was elected national vicesecretary of Christian Democracy, under Aldo Moro's leadership. He held this position for seven years, until 1969, under the secretariat of Mariano Rumor and Flaminio Piccoli.
Secretary of the Christian Democratic party
When Mariano Rumor became Prime Minister in December 1968, he appointed Forlani as Minister of Public Shares and in August 1969 he became Minister for the Relations with the United Nations, in the Rumor's second cabinet.
In September 1969, in San Ginesio he stipulated, together with Ciriaco de Mita, the "Pact of San Ginesio" to lead the Christian Democracy party, which materialized when two months later, on 9 November 1969, Forlani became Secretary of the CD and De Mita, its vice-secretary. Forlani assumed the leadership of the party in a moment of social instability provoked by the mobilizations in the universities and factories, for which he drafted the Preambolo, to ask the Italian Socialist Party to be part of a center-left government in order to break all relations with the communists in the municipal administrations and the trade unions.
The CD's comfortable victory in the regional elections of 1970, with 37% of the vote nationwide and victory in all regions except three, did not allow Forlani to achieve that DC's candidate for the presidential elections the following year, Amintore Fanfani, gain enough confidence of the Chamber of Deputies. Forlani's second candidate was Aldo Moro, but also this nomination was rejected by the Parliament. At the end, the DC proposed Giovanni Leone, former Prime Minister and long-time President of the Chamber of Deputies, who was elected with the support of the neo-fascist Social Movement.
Three years later, in 1976, Farloni tried to regain the party's secretariat as representative of the moderate internal current against the pacts with the Communist Party, but was defeated by Benigno Zaccagnini, who represented the more left-wing bloc.
Member of the government
When the Republicans left Moro's cabinet in 1976, no possibilities of a new government remained, and an early vote was called. After the election, which saw a great success of the Communist Party, Andreotti became the new Prime Minister and Forlani was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The reasons of this important nomination were firstly the necessity to recover a climate of unity in the party after the congressional divisions and secondly the opportunity, in a world still marked by the Cold War, to allocate foreign policy to a clearly anti-communist personality, as Forlani was, able to calm the European and U.S. partners. During his ministry, Forlani strongly supported the European integration process, and the adhesion of Portugal to the European Economic Community.
Prime Minister of Italy
In 1980, Forlani was among the main sponsor of Flaminio Piccoli in the party congress. Piccoli was elected Secretary at the head of a centre-right majority. Due to his fundamental role in Piccoli's election, Forlani was appointed Prime Minister of Italy in October, leading a centre to centre-left coalition with PSI, PSDI and PRI.
1980 Irpinia earthquake
During his premiership, Forlani had to face also the Irpinia earthquake, a strong shock, that was centered on the village of Conza in Campania, and left at least 2,483 people dead, at least 7,700 injured, and left 250,000 homeless.
Forlani's government spent 59 trillion lire on reconstruction, while other nations sent contributions. West Germany contributed 32 million United States dollars (USD) and the United States US$70 million. However, in the early 1990s a major corruption scandal emerged. Of the billions of lire that were predestined for aid to the victims and rebuilding, the largest part disappeared from the earthquake reconstruction funds in the 1980s. Of the $40 billion spent on earthquake reconstruction, an estimated $20 billion went to create an entirely new social class of millionaires in the region, $6.4 billion went to the Camorra, whereas another $4 billion went to politicians in bribes. Only the remaining $9.6 billion a quarter of the total amount, was actually spent on people's needs. Moreover, the Mafia entered the construction industry after the quake.
P2 scandal and resignation
During his premiership, the list of who belonged to the secret lodge P2 was published. The P2 was a Masonic lodge founded in 1945 that, by the time its Masonic charter was withdrawn in 1976, had transformed into a clandestine, pseudo-Masonic, ultraright organization operating in contravention of Article 18 of the Constitution of Italy that banned secret associations. In its latter period, during which the lodge was headed by Licio Gelli, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries, including the collapse of the Vatican-affiliated Banco Ambrosiano, the murders of journalist Mino Pecorelli and banker Roberto Calvi, and corruption cases within the nationwide bribe scandal Tangentopoli. P2 came to light through the investigations into the collapse of Michele Sindona's financial empire.
P2 was sometimes referred to as a "state within a state" or a "shadow government". The lodge had among its members prominent journalists, Members of Parliament, industrialists, and military leaders—including Silvio Berlusconi, who later became Prime Minister of Italy; the Savoy pretender to the Italian throne Victor Emmanuel; and the heads of all three Italian intelligence services (at the time SISDE, SISMI, and CESIS).
When searching Gelli's villa in 1981, the police found a document called the "Plan for Democratic Rebirth", which called for a consolidation of the media, suppression of trade unions, and the rewriting of the Italian Constitution. However, the lateness with which they were published gained Forlani heavy criticism, in particular from the Communist Party. He was therefore compelled to resign from the position, staying away from the spotlight of politics for a certain period. With his resignation and the appointment of Republican leader Giovanni Spadolini, the unbroken line since 1945 of Christian Democratic Prime Ministers came to an end.
After the premiership
In 1982, Forlani tried again to become DC Secretary, but he was defeated by his former deputy secretary Ciriaco De Mita, who was now supported also by Fanfani. In 1983 the Socialist leader Bettino Craxi was appointed Prime Minister by President Sandro Pertini and Forlani became his Deputy Prime Minister.
Second term as secretary
In the 18th DC National Congress Forlani was elected secretary for a second time, with 85% of votes. He managed as secretary the long government crisis that followed the 19 May 1989 resignation of Ciriaco de Mita as Prime Minister after strong contrasts with Bettino Craxi.
In July, the sixth Andreotti government took office and, after the good results of the DC in the 1989 European Parliament election, promoted the so-called "C.A.F." political alliance, to shield the Pentapartito and whose initials correspond to the initials of Craxi, Andreotti and Forlani, which was the pivot of Italian politics for the remaining part of the legislature until the 1992 election.
1992 election and presidential ambitions
Forlani, at the end of 1991, convened the National Programmatic Conference of the DC in Milan in which he warned that the First Republic was collapsing and identified possible, being the reform of the proportional electoral law that included a 'corrective majority' one of his main remedies. The following year, the Mani Pulite investigation began and, in the 5 April general election, the Christian Democracy 5 April lost 5 points.
In the presidential election of the same year, the Christian Democracy proposed Forlani as its candidate to the presidency of the Republic. However, during the 5th and 6th ballots, held on 16 May 1992, Forlani missed the election by 39 and 29 votes respectively. Following these defeats, Forlani withdrew his candidacy as President of the Republic.
Judicial case, resignation and decline
In 1992 he was charged to two years and four months in prison for illicit financing for his involvement in Mani pulite scandal. His testimony ended up being remembered for his ruthless and uncooperative response to the prosecuting lawyer's questions during the hearings. The sentence was replaced with community service for Caritas in Rome.
That conviction, added to the failed race for the presidency of the country and the bad results in the 1992 Italian general election, put an end to his political career. Forlani resigned as DC secretary that same year. He did not stand for re-election as deputy in the general election of 1994, ending an uninterrupted parliamentary career that began in 1958.
Personal life and death
Forlani married Alma Maria, from whom he was widowed on 6 October 2015 when she died at the age of 86. They had three sons: Alessandro, Marco, and Luigi. Alessandro also had a stint in Italian politics, becoming a deputy and senator.
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...the extreme right-wing organization Propaganda Due (P-2), ...
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...[Licio Gelli] organized a special, ultrasecret, ultrarightist lodge, Propaganda-Due
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... a similar strategy of infiltration within the military milieu by Italian radical right-wing terrorist groups and clandestine elite pressure groups such as Propaganda-Due (P-2) ...
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- 3rd parliamentary term
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- Media related to Arnaldo Forlani at Wikimedia Commons