After World War II and the overthrow of Mussolini's fascist regime, Italy's history was dominated by the Christian Democracy (Democrazia Cristiana, DC) political party for 48 years - from the 1946 election until the 1994 election - while the opposition was led by the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This situation changed due to an external shock - the crisis and Dissolution of the Soviet Union - and internal one - the Tangentopoli corruption scandal and operation Mani pulite (Italian for "Clean Hands"). These international and national political turmoils led to the reform of the electoral system (from almost perfect proportional to uninominal/multi-seat circumscriptions) and radical restructuring of the Italian political system, including the dissolution of most traditional political parties, including Christian Democracy and PCI.

In 1994, in the midst of the Mani Pulite operation which shook political parties, media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, owner of three private TV channels, several newspapers and magazines, and Italy's main publishing house Mondadori, won the March 27 general election and formed the Berlusconi I Cabinet. Although ousted after a few months of government, Berlusconi became one of Italy's most important political and economic figures for the next two decades. After leading the Opposition to the Dini (1995-1996), Prodi I (1996-1998), D'Alema I (1998-1999), D'Alema II (1999-2000), and Amato II Cabinet (2000-2001), Berlusconi returned to power in 2001 after winning the 13 May general election. He eventually lost the 2006 general election five years later to Romano Prodi and his Union coalition but won the 2008 general election and returned to power in June 2008. In November 2011, Berlusconi lost his majority in the Chamber of Deputies, and resigned. His successor, Mario Monti formed a new government, composed by "technicians" and supported by both the center-left and the center-right parties. After the 2013 election resulted in a hung parliament, in April the Vice-Secretary of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, formed a Cabinet composed by both center-left and the center-right parties. On 22 February 2014, after tensions in the Democratic Party, the PD's Secretary Matteo Renzi sworn as new Prime Minister.



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