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The World: A Debut of Deputies

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When the 630 Deputies and 315 Senators of Italy’s newly elected legislature assemble for the first time on July 5, it will be something of a neck-craning social event, as well as a political jamboree of uncertain result. Several of Parliament’s 378 new members are in fact well-known faces who will add a glow of celebrity to the legislatures. From Turin, for instance, comes Count Luigi Rossi di Montelra, Christian Democrat Deputy and vermouth empire executive (Martini & Rossi), who was kidnaped three years ago; the Count won public accolades for the exemplary stoicism he displayed during the 120-day ordeal. A Rome constituency elected Fiat Industrial Aristocrat Umberto Agnelli to the Senate as a Christian Democrat, while the small Republican Party successfully fielded his sister Susanna Agnelli, a first-time Deputy who is also mayor of Porto Santo Stefano, a fashionable resort town on the Tuscan coast.

Among three generals elected was Nino Pasti, former NATO deputy supreme commander for nuclear affairs, who ran for the Senate as an independent on the Communist ticket. Former EEC Commissioner Altiero Spinelli and all six of the prominent Roman Catholic laymen (plus a Waldensian priest), who defied Pope Paul VI by running under the sign of the hammer and sickle, also won seats in Parliament. Narrowly defeated, however, was Communist-sponsored Independent Gillo Pontecorvo, the film director whose credits include The Battle of Algiers.

Enhancing the cause of radical party chic is Deputy Marco Pannella, an ardent social reformer whose fasts over issues ranging from abortion to free speech have become a continuing press event in Italy. The leftist, civil libertarian radicals, who picked up four seats in the chamber, were running nationally for the first time, as were the former “extraparliamentarians,” a melange of revolutionary Marxist splinter groups who banded together a few weeks before the election. Having rendered their name a misnomer by running for and winning six seats, the extraparliamentarians now call themselves Proletarian Democrats. The most prominent of the new in-house revolutionaries is P.D. Deputy Luciana Castellina, sharp-witted feminist journalist. This constellation of new Deputies may not make Parliament any more workable, but at least it should add a little luster to Italy’s tarnished political image.

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