Rome, 10 June
To-day the Italian supreme court in a simple but historic ceremony in the parliament building announced the all but complete returns for the referendum on the monarchy. And so, somewhat hesitantly, the Italian Republic came into being.
Since early in the morning there had been a queue outside parliament for the few seats available for the public at this evening’s ceremony.
The president of the High Court of Cassation, with six sectional presidents, all black-robed, stood at one end of the hall, with the Italian Government, while the president solemnly announced the almost complete figures of the voting. They were:
For a Republic ……… 12,672,767
For a Monarchy ……. 10,688,305
The court had announced that some objections had still to be investigated and that some results were missing, and so the question arose whether the Republic had been officially proclaimed. Signor de Gasperi, the Premier, thought it had: it was not necessary that it should be proclaimed from a balcony, he said. “If the court has felt authorised to communicate figures showing a majority for the Republic we take that to mean that the court is satisfied that further adjustments cannot materially modify the result.”
Signor de Gasperi added that if Umberto leaves to-night or to-morrow, he leaves still as “King” of Italy. There was no reason on personal grounds why the King should leave at all as he had behaved very well.
New head of state
Thus from to-night Signor de Gasperi becomes not only prime minister but also head of the Italian State. This is a temporary measure until the first meeting of the new Constituent Assembly, which must elect Italy’s first president. This week the Communist and Socialist parties each have meetings of their executive councils to decide what form their participation in the new Government will take. It is not yet clear whether Signor de Gasperi intends to invite any other party or group to join his new cabinet when it is formed.
Of the ten million people who voted for the Monarchy there is a hardcore that seems still to envisage last-minute disturbances. The chief Monarchist hive here is just opposite parliament in the headquarters of Italia Nuova, and there in the courtyard is a detachment of a hundred Italian sailors who lie down with their Bren guns at night, and outside parliament are three Italian tanks day and night on duty.
Big crowds are gathered round the palace to-night and one rumour that is spreading is that Umberto II is holding out for a second referendum. To many republicans here their victory is beginning already to become tarnished with possible compromises which do not augur too well for the future.
On the banks of the Tiber Signor Nenni and Signor Parri to-night commemorated the death of Matteotti there just 22 years ago. Signor Parri said to a large republican crowd, “This afternoon’s high court ceremony was like a funeral. We here are really celebrating our victory.”
Naples, 10 June
About 10.000 Monarchists stormed the Nantes City Hall to-night, broke through a police cordon, smashed windows, and raised the flag of the House of Savoy over the building. The mob attacked the offices of the republican newspaper La Voce. Police finally dispersed them after they had tried to set fire to the Communist headquarters.