Vita Gazette

News from Italy

June 2, the birthday of our Republic!

Vita gazette – June 2, the Italians abolished the monarchy and elected a constitutional republican regime… On June 2, 2024, the Italian Republic turns 78!

The Italian Republic Day is celebrated on 2 June because, precisely between 2 and 3 June 1946, the referendum was held with which the Italians, after 85 years of reign of the Savoy dynasty (20 of which under the fascist dictatorship, concluded during the Second World War), chose to make Italy a constitutional republic, abolishing the monarchy. 

The Italians, and for the first time, the Italian women, were summoned to the polls to choose between the Republic and the Monarchy and to elect the deputies of the Constituent Assembly who would have the task of drafting the new constitutional charter, were called to cooperate in the foundation of an idea of republican citizenship that found in the Constitution one of the maximum expressions.

After twenty years of fascist dictatorship, for the first time, Italian society lived the experience of free elections with universal male and female suffrage, albeit in a country still profoundly divided on the institutional question.

There was a deep rift, strongly drawn on geographical bases, between the Republican majority North and the Monarchist majority South, even though the events of the last twenty years – and in particular the defeat, the armistice proclamation announced on 8 September 1943 by the Head of the Government Pietro Badoglio, the escape from the Capital of the military leaders, of Badoglio himself, of King Vittorio Emanuele III and of his son Umberto, the state of the Italian armed forces left in disarray, the civil war that divided Italy – had the choice of a profound break with the past has now been made unavoidable.

On May 9, 1946, King Vittorio Emanuele III (accused of allowing the eruption of fascism) abdicated in favour of his son Umberto, who had already been appointed Lieutenant in June 1944. A decision that proved to be late and inadequate from the outset to the expectations of the parties adhering to the National Liberation Committee.

This was when a yearning for freedom and progress spread throughout Italy. Cancelled the “very fascist laws” – which had allowed the liquidation of all parties other than the fascist one, the dissolution of the socialist and Catholic trade unions, the suppression of freedom of the press, up to the de facto transformation of the legal system of the Kingdom of ‘Italy in an authoritarian state – political and trade union organisations were resurrected, newspapers multiplied with the creation of new titles, cultural associations revived.

Voter turnout was very high.

In 1946 those entitled to vote were 28 million (28,005,449); the voters were almost 25 million (24,946,878), equal to 89.08%. Of the valid votes, 23,437,143, 12,718,641 (equal to 54.27%) were expressed in favour of the Republic, and 10,718,502 (equivalent to 45.73%) in favour of the Monarchy.

By the results and having exhausted the evaluation of the appeals, on 18 June 1946, the Court of Cassation officially proclaimed the birth of the Italian Republic.

Italy ceased to be a monarchy and became a republic.

Republic Day is essential in our history, with significant initiatives and official ceremonies. Since 1948, for example, via dei Fiori Imperiali, in Rome, a military parade has been held in honour of the Republic. However, in recent years the parade has been simplified to make it less expensive, and some armed forces departments (for example, armoured vehicles) no longer train. Their vibrations put the ancient monuments that arise in the area at risk.

The current ceremony, therefore, provides for the deposition of a laurel wreath to the Unknown Soldier, a symbol of all those killed in war and who have never been recognised, at the Altare della Patria. A military parade followed this in the presence of the highest offices of the state (President of the Republic, Prime Minister, ministers, etc…).

However, one of the most spectacular moments of the parade remains that of the display of the Frecce Tricolori: ten planes, nine of which in formation and one solo, which make up the largest aerobatic team in the world.

The traditional protocol then provides that the celebrations continue in the afternoon with the opening to the public of the Gardens of the Quirinale palace, the seat of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, with concerts by the bands of the Italian Army, the Italian Navy, and the Italian Air Force. The Carabinieri Corps, the State Police, the Guardia di Finanza, the Penitentiary Police Corps and the State Forestry Corps.

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