The Opposition Role of the Center-Left Party

in Italian Politics
Author: James L. Newell
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In 2002, the opposition parties found themselves in a radically new

politico-strategic position as compared to the past. It was new in two

major ways. First, the previous year’s election outcome had represented

the further consolidation of a predominantly bi-polar dynamic

to party competition and had made it seem likely that the new government’s

stability would be greater than that of any other since

World War II. This presented a unique opportunity to the parties of

opposition, for typically in such circumstances, not only are governing

parties under pressure to carry through the policies on which they

have been elected, but the fortunes of each one of them individually

are closely bound to the success or failure of the government as a

whole. This means that they are vulnerable to opposition attack to a

degree that governing parties were not under the “First Republic,”

when at least the smaller parties were often able to avoid the electoral

consequences of unpopular measures, simply because of the

absence of any possibility of alternation.