The Berlusconi Government’s Foreign Policy: The First 18 Months

in Italian Politics
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Italian foreign policy has always been greatly influenced by the country’s

domestic politics. Certain important historical processes have

made it considerably difficult to separate the country’s external representation

from its domestic political equilibria. This state of affairs

has had a considerable bearing on Italy’s international standing,

which has been inhibited and therefore weakened as a result. The

country’s fragile national tradition, the legacy of a ruinous dictatorship,

and, in particular, the instability of the government, which

underlies the very nature of the proportional electoral system—

together with the existence of the largest communist party outside

the Soviet bloc—have hindered the formation of a bipartisan consensus

and of a foreign policy free from domestic pressures.