Sammarinese Communist Party

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Sanmarinese Communist Party
Founded 1921
Dissolved 1990
Succeeded by Sammarinese Democratic Progressive Party
Ideology Communism

The Communist Party of San Marino (Partito Comunista di San Marino, PCS), also known as the Sammarinese Communist Party, was a Marxist political party in the small European republic of San Marino. It was founded in 1921 as a section of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI). The organization existed for its first two decades as an underground political organization in a nation dominated by adherents of fascism.

Between 1945 and the spring of 1957, the PCS governed the country in coalition with the Sammarinese Socialist Party (PSS), with the coalition losing power with a split of 10 social democratic parliamentary deputies from the latter organization. An attempt to abrogate elections through a coup d'état followed in September 1957, which was halted by intervention of the government of Italy.

The PCS returned to membership in a governing parliamentary coalition in 1978, with its adherents remaining as part of the leadership group until 1992. In 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the PCS formally renounced communism and relaunched itself Sammarinese Democratic Progressive Party (PPDS).



San Marino is a European microstate, considered the third smallest in Europe with an area of just 61 square kilometers (24 square miles). Despite its small size and tiny population, the tiny nation — wholly surrounded by Italy — was the home of a communist political party from 1921, the Communist Party of San Marino, (Partito Communista di San Marino), or PCS. The organization was established as a section of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI).[1]

The party's first two decades were spent in the political underground, as San Marino was dominated — as was Italy — by the fascist movement in the form of the Sammarinese Fascist Party, which held all 60 of the seats in the country's unicameral parliament from the election of 1923 until the end of the Second World War in 1945. The party was refounded in 1940 under the leadership of Ermenegildo Gasperoni (1906-1994).[2]

Period of coalition government[edit]

The PCS was a governing party of San Marino in coalition with the Socialist Party of San Marino (PSSM) from 1945 until March 1957.[3]

Crisis of 1957[edit]

The coalition of 19 Communist and 16 Socialist deputies of parliament fell in April 1957 due to a factional split in the Socialist Party, with 10 deputies moving their allegiance from the government to the opposition, giving the latter a new majority of 35 of the 60 seats.[3] New elections were scheduled for September 19 of that same year.[3] Facing defeat at the polls, the Communist-led coalition issued orders on election day to bar members of parliament from gaining access to the parliament building and proclaimed it to be dissolved.[3] This constitutional crisis was resolved by intervention of the Italian government, and on October 14, 1957 a new government was formed by the former opposition.[3]

Years of opposition[edit]

After the failed attempt at a coup in 1957, the PCS remained an opposition party in San Marino, excluded from the government coalition. The new non-communist government won reelection in September 1959, with the PCS's parliamentary delegation falling to 16 members, joined by 8 Socialists.[3]

The PCS remained a recognized independent member of the international communist movement, sending delegations to international conferences in 1957, 1959, and 1960 and to the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in October 1961.[3] With the split of the world communist movement into pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese factions during the 1960s, the PCS remained firmly pro-Soviet.[3]

In national elections held on September 8, 1974, the PCS received 3,246 votes (23% of those cast) and won 16 seats to the Great and General Council — a gain of 1 seat from the previous election, held in 1969.[4]

Return to government[edit]

In 1978 the PCS returned to government as part of a coalition with the Socialist Party and a new organization formed three years earlier, the Unitary Socialist Party (PSU).[5] This made San Marino the only country in Western Europe with a Communist Party as a participant in a governing coalition.[5]

A scheduled election held on May 29, 1983 saw the PCs receiving 24.3% of the vote cast for the General Council (parliament), thereby electing 15 Communists to the body.[6] These were joined by 9 Socialists, and 8 members of the SUP — a total of 32 of the 60 seats as part of a new Communist-Socialist unity government.[1] This government remained in power until a 1986 corruption scandal shattered the Socialists, with the Communists remaining in government through an unlikely coalition with the center-right Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) until 1992.[5]

At the national election held on May 29, 1988, the PCS garnered 28.7% of the votes cast, winning 18 of 60 seats on the General Council.[7]


The PCS was governed by a 17-member Central Committee, elected at periodic party congresses.[8] This body selected a 10-member Executive Committee from its ranks to handle daily party governance.[8]

The General Secretary of the organization from its 1940 reformation until the early 1970s was Ermenegildo Gasperoni.[8] In 1973, Gasperoni was moved into the more ceremonial role of party chairman, with Umberto Barulli (1921-1993) taking the helm as General Secretary.[9] Barulli was replaced in turn as General Secretary by Gilberto Ghiotti in 1984, with Ghiotti remaining in power until the end of the party in 1990.[7]

The PCS was the chief sponsor of two subsidiary organizations, the Federation of Communist Women of San Marino and the Communist Youth Federation of San Marino.[3]

Party membership in 1965 was estimated at 960 out of a total national population of about 17,000.[3] In 1976 total membership was estimated by another scholar at about 300 from a national population of 19,000.[9]

The official organ of the PCS was the newspaper La Scintilla, a publication which was not produced on a regular chronological basis.[2]


With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, in parallel to the transformation of PCI into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) in Italy, the PCS formally renounced communism and remade itself as the Sammarinese Democratic Progressive Party (PPDS).[5] This change was followed by a split of communist hard-liners who formed the Sammarinese Communist Refoundation (RCS).[5]

With the renaming of the organization at the 12th Party Congress of April 1990, the name of the official organ was changed from La Scintilla to Progresso.[7] The party's former hammer-and-sickle logo was dropped at this time, replaced by a drawing of a dove by Pablo Picasso.[7]


Congress Location Date Notes and references
1st Congress
2nd Congress
3rd Congress
4th Congress
5th Congress March 1955
6th Congress March 1961
7th Congress April 1968
8th Congress
9th Congress December 1976 Main report delivered by Umberto Barulli.
10th Congress
11th Congress Jan. 27, 1986
12th Congress April 27-29, 1990 Attended by 135 delegates. Renames organization as Sammarinese Progressive Democratic Party.


  1. ^ a b Giacomo Sani, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1984. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1984; pp. 513-514.
  2. ^ a b Carla Liverani, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1972. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1972; pp. 218-219.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Branko Lazitch, "San Marino," in Witold S. Sworakowski (ed.), World Communism: A Handbook, 1918-1965. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1973; pp. 384-385.
  4. ^ Dante Germino, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1975. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1975; pg. 237.
  5. ^ a b c d e Donald F. Busky, Communism in History and Theory: From Utopian Socialism to the Fall of the Soviet Union. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002; pp. 57-58.
  6. ^ Margrit N. Grigory, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1988. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1988; pg. 536.
  7. ^ a b c d Margrit N. Grigory, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar and Margrit N. Grigory (eds.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1991. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1991; pp. 624-625.
  8. ^ a b c Milorad Drachkovitch (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1966. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, 1967; pg. 143.
  9. ^ a b Angelo Codevilla, "San Marino," in Richard F. Staar (ed.), Yearbook on International Communist Affairs, 1977. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1977; pg. 222.

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