On August 4, 1983 Benedetto Craxi became Prime Minister thanks to a majority of government that brought together Christian Democrats and the Italian Socialist Party, thus becoming the first socialist to obtain this title.
But let's take a step back first.
Milanese, anti-fascist, he studied law and in the 1950s he decided to follow his father's footsteps in the ranks of the Socialist Party. During his long political career he was Town Councilor, Provincial Party Secretary, Parliament Deputy and deputy party secretary, an experience within the PSI that guaranteed him great knowledge, contacts and consensus.
In 1976 Craxi was elected Secretary of the PSI when still largely unknown by public opinion. Despite the party collapsing close to 10 percent, Craxi managed to stay in charge of it for 16 years. Close to the trends marked by the reformist Pietro Nenni, Bettino represented a European-type anti-communist left belonging to the western bloc. He fought hard to make the Party regain relevance and to mark the dividing line with the PCI, which is also increasingly growing.
First opposing the historic compromise between DC and PCI, he returned to Andreotti's Christian Democracy in 1979, then joined the government in 1983. The pentapartite coalition led by Craxi, Andreotti, Spadolini and Forlani, will be remembered over the years for the great use ministerial decrees, the Sigonella Crisis, the fight against the inflationary spiral of the "escalator", the years of sharp increase in public debt and the deficit.
A government marked by strong support and equally critical.
In the torment of the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin wall and the Tangentopoli scandal, 1987 marked the fall of the second Craxi government. With the beginning of the 90s and the "Clean Hands" trials, the end of the PSI and Craxi was foreseen, a situation that the Secretary publicly condemned with a speech to parliament in 1992.
In 1993 he resigned as party secretary also because of the storm caused by the Enimont trial. Increasing social indignation and mistrust grew towards his figure and Italian politics in general.
With the fall of his parliamentary immunity in 1994, Craxi first sought refuge in France and then in his home in Tunisia, where he continued to comment on the Italian vicissitudes under the protection of President Ben Ali. He was subsequently charged by the Court of Cassation with corruption and illegal financing. He died in the 2000s from cancer and worsened diabetes, when the four trials against him had not yet ended.