Christian Democratic Party

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Christian Democratic Party


(CDP; Partido delia Democrazia Christiana), a Catholic political party; the largest bourgeois party in Italy. The CDP was founded in 1943 as the heir of the Popolari (Popular Party). The ideology and programs of the CDP are based on the tenets of the social doctrine of Catholicism. The social composition of the party and its body of supporters is highly varied, although the middle strata predominate.

During the fascist German occupation of Italy from 1943 to 1945, the CDP took part in the resistance movement and collaborated with the Communist and Socialist parties. From 1944 to 1947 it continued to collaborate with these parties in governments. In May 1947, however, it broke the antifascist front and formed a government without the Communists and Socialists. Since then, the CDP has continuously headed the government.

In the 1950’s, the government, under the leadership of the CDP, basically catered to the interests of big capital. In foreign policy, it cooperated with NATO. In domestic policy, it attempted to combine anticommunism with various socioeconomic reforms, including an agrarian reform in 1950; the creation of the Southern Fund in 1950 and 1951 to stimulate economic development in the backward, southern regions; and the development of a state sector in the economy. The reforms were intended to create the machinery for state monopoly regulation of the economy. They were insufficient to solve Italy’s complex social and economic problems, however, and an acute crisis resulted in Italian society and in the CDP at the end of the 1950’s and the beginning of the 1960’s. Right-wing elements in the CDP attempted to consolidate the party’s position by allying the party with the neofascists; the resulting government of F. Tambroni was in power for a period in 1960. The efforts of the right-wing elements, however, ended in failure owing to the strong opposition of the democratic forces.

Under these circumstances, certain elements in the party turned to left-centrism; that is, they sought to form governments with the Socialists and rejected alliances with the right-wing bourgeois Liberal Party. The aim of the maneuver was to strengthen the CDP’s position and to isolate the Communists. Left-center governments were in power from 1962 to 1972 and from 1973 to 1976. Their reforms were limited to the nationalization of the electrical energy industry in 1962 and the creation of regional organs of self-government in 1970. Further reforms were rendered impossible by the constant factional warfare among the parties in the ruling coalition and within the CDP itself.

A number of events were indications of a deep crisis in the CDP. In addition to the formation of G. Andreotti’s government in 1972 with the participation of the Liberals, these events included the CDP’s failure in a referendum in 1974 on the question of divorce and the CDP’s loss of approximately 1 million votes in the municipal elections in 1975.

In the parliamentary elections of 1976, the Communist Party received almost as many votes as the CDP. In 1977 the CDP agreed with six other parties, including the Communist Party, to a program of cooperation in government and in 1978 agreed to form a parliamentary majority (which existed until 1979) represented by the CDP and the Communist Party. In the parliamentary elections of 1979, the CDP received 38.3 percent of the vote.

As of 1980, the CDP had 1.8 million members. The party is organized on a territorial principle. The membership of the leading bodies is divided among the various factions in proportion to the size of the factions (at the Fourteenth Congress of the CDP in February 1980, six factions were represented in the leading bodies). Important party leaders in the 1970’s included G. Andreotti, F. Piccoli, A. Fanfani, and A. Forlani. The president of the CDP is currently A. Forlani, and the secretary is F. Piccoli. The party’s official organ is the newspaper II Popolo.

Christian Democratic Party


(CDP; Chrześcijańska Demokracja; commonly known as Chadecja), a petit bourgeois party that arose in Poland in 1919, one of whose aims was the strengthening of the political and cultural influence of the church. The CDP was formed by the unification of similar regional organizations that had existed from 1902 in the Polish territories under German control, from 1905 in the Kingdom of Poland, and from 1908 in Galicia.

The CDP, which was hostile to the revolutionary working-class movement, advocated “class peace.” The party was heavily influenced by the National Democratic Party of Poland, with which it formed in 1922 the bloc sometimes called the Chjena. From May to December 1923 and in May 1926, members of the bloc were included in the coalition government of W. Witos. In 1929 the CDP joined the Centrolew bloc, which was in opposition to the sanacja regime. In 1937 the party joined with the right-wing National Workers’ Party (founded 1920) to form the Labor Party (Stronnictwo Pracy), which existed until 1950.


Krzywoblocka, B. Chadecja 1918–1937. Warsaw, 1974.
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