Legislative election results map. Light Blue denotes provinces with a Christian Democratic plurality, Red denotes those with a Communist plurality, Dark gray denotes those with a South Tyrolean People's Party plurality.
For the Senate, 237 single-seat constituencies were established, even if the assembly had risen to 315 members. The candidates needed a landslide victory of two thirds of votes to be elected, a goal which could be reached only by the German minorities in South Tirol. All remained votes and seats were grouped in party lists and regional constituencies, where a D'Hondt method was used: inside the lists, candidates with the best percentages were elected.
Although the 1970s in Italy was marked by violence, it was also a time of great social and economic progress. Following the civil disturbances of the 1960s, Christian Democracy and its allies in government (including the Socialist Party) introduced a wide range of political, social, and economic reforms. Regional governments were introduced in the spring of 1970, with elected councils provided with the authority to legislate in areas like public works, town planning, social welfare, and health. Spending on the relatively poor South was significantly increased, while new laws relating to index-linked pay, public housing, and pension provision were also passed. In 1975, a law was passed entitling redundant workers to receive at least 80% of their previous salary for up to a year from a state insurance fund. Living standards also continued to rise, with wages going up by an average of about 25% a year from the early 1970s onwards, and between 1969 and 1978, average real wages rose by 72%. Various fringe benefits were raised to the extent that they amounted to an additional 50% to 60% on wages, the highest in any country in the Western world. In addition, working hours were reduced so that by the end of the decade they were lower than any other country apart from Belgium. Some categories of workers who were laid off received generous unemployment compensation which represented only a little less than full wages, often years beyond eligibility. Initially, these benefits were primarily enjoyed by industrial orkers in northern Italy where the “Hot Autumn” had its greatest impact, but these benefits soon spread to other categories of workers in other areas. In 1975, the escalator clause was strengthened in wage contracts, providing a high proportion of workers with nearly 100% indexation, with quarterly revisions, thereby increasing wages nearly as fast as prices.
A statute of worker’s rights that was drafted and pushed into enactment in 1970 by the Socialist labour minister Giacomo Brodolini, greatly strengthened the authority of the trade unions in the factories, outlawed dismissal without just cause, guaranteed freedom of assembly and speech on the shop floor, forbade employers to keep records of the union or political affiliations of their workers, and prohibited hiring except through the state employment office.
Face to the great result of the PCI, many centrist politicians and businessmen began to think how to avoid the possibility of a future Communist victory which could turn Italy into a Soviet-aligned State. So the DC leadership thought to gradually involve the Communists into the governmental policies so to moderate their requests, as made with the Socialists. The man who was chosen for this attempt did not belong to the leftist wing of the DC, as happened with the PSI, but the moderate leader and former-PM Giulio Andreotti, so to balance the situation and to calm the markets. Its first government ended in 1978, when the PCI decided to grant its external support. However this process, called National Solidarity, was dramatically stopped by the terroristic attacks of the Red Brigades, which kidnapped and killed former-PM Aldo Moro. The country was heavily shocked by these killings, and the Communists returned to a full opposition. Andreotti's attempt then to form a classic centre-left government with the Socialists failed, and a new general election was called for 1979.