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Giovanni Giolitti

Prime Minister of Italy

Died when: 85 years 264 days (1028 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio

 

Giovanni Giolitti

Giovanni Giolitti (Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni dʒoˈlitti]; 27 October 1842 – 17 July 1928) was an Italian statesman.He was the Prime Minister of Italy five times between 1892 and 1921.

He is the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Italian history, after Benito Mussolini.He was a prominent leader of the Historical Left and the Liberal Union.

Giolitti is widely considered one of the most powerful and important politicians in Italian history and, due to his dominant position in Italian politics, he was accused by critics of being an authoritarian leader and a parliamentary dictator.

Giolitti was a master in the political art of Trasformismo, the method of making a flexible, centrist coalition of government which isolated the extremes of the left and the right in Italian politics after the unification.

Under his influence, the Italian Liberals did not develop as a structured party; they were, instead, a series of informal personal groupings with no formal links to political constituencies.

The period between the start of the 20th century and the start of World War I, when he was Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior from 1901 to 1914 with only brief interruptions, is often referred to as the "Giolittian Era".

A centrist liberal, with strong ethical concerns, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of ordinary Italians, together with the enactment of several policies of government intervention.

Besides putting in place several tariffs, subsidies and government projects, Giolitti also nationalized the private telephone and railroad operators.Liberal proponents of free trade criticized the "Giolittian System", although Giolitti himself saw the development of the national economy as essential in the production of wealth.

The primary focus of Giolittian politics was to rule from the center with slight and well controlled fluctuations between conservatism and progressivism, trying to preserve the institutions and the existing social order.

Critics from the right-wing considered him a socialist due to the courting of socialist votes in parliament in exchange for political favours, while critics from the left-wing, like Gaetano Salvemini, accused him of being a corrupt politician and of winning elections with the support of criminals.

However, his highly complex legacy continues to stimulate intense debate among writers and historians.


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