Fatti di Rovereta

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The fatti di Rovereta (the Rovereta affair) was a constitutional crisis in San Marino in 1957 in which the Grand and General Council was deliberately rendered inquorate to prevent the scheduled election of Captains-Regent. A provisional government was established in the village of Rovereta, in opposition to the outgoing Captains-Regent whose term had expired.

Background[edit]

Following the end of the fascist government and World War II, the 1945 general elections produced a Communist-Socialist coalition government. In the 1955 general elections, the ruling coalition won 35 of the 60 seats in the Grand and General Council. Five moderate Socialist members of the council wanted to break the alliance with the Communists who were close to the Soviet Union and did not condemn Soviet actions during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They left in April 1957 to form a new party, the Sammarinese Independent Democratic Socialist Party (PSDIS). This left a perfect 30–30 split in the council that paralyzed the government. Given the deadlock, the Captains-Regent avoided convening the council until the mandatory 19 September regency election to choose their replacements.

Crisis[edit]

A day before the election, one Communist councilor became an independent and joined the opposition, giving them the majority. However it was the practice of the Socialist and Communist parties to enforce party discipline by making their councilors sign letters of resignation after each election, with the date left blank. The party chiefs submitted to the regency all 35 letters, including the six who left their parties, with the date of 19 September. With the majority of seats vacant in the council there was no quorum, so the regency dissolved the council until new general elections could be held on 3 November. But because the council did not elect a new regency, the status of the sitting regency would be uncertain once their terms expired on 1 October, causing a constitutional crisis. The regency ordered the Gendarmerie to seal off the Palazzo Pubblico, preventing any councilors from entering. The opposition was in an uproar as the six defectors claimed their resignations were invalid and what transpired was a coup. On 30 September, opposition councilors occupied an abandoned factory in the town of Rovereta, Serravalle on the Italian border. At the stroke of midnight when the regency should have expired, the councilors declared a provisional government.

Resolution[edit]

Italy recognized the provisional government and Italian Carabinieri protected the three sides of the factory that sat in their territory. The regency organized a militia of supporters and weapons flowed in from Italy to both sides. On 11 October, the regency caved in and recognized the provisional government, ending the crisis. The new government elected a new regency. One of its acts was to provide for women's suffrage. General elections were held in 1959, confirming the victory of the PSDIS-Christian Democrat coalition.