Nilde Iotti

Chamber of Deputies (Italy) Italian Communist Party List of Italian constituencies (1946–1994)
Nilde Iotti
Nilde Iotti.png
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
20 June 1979 – 22 April 1992
PresidentSandro Pertini
Francesco Cossiga
Preceded byPietro Ingrao
Succeeded byOscar Luigi Scalfaro
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
8 May 1948 – 4 December 1999
ConstituencyParma (1948–1958)
Bologna (1958–1968)
Parma (1968–1994)
Marche (1994–1999)
Member of the Constituent Assembly
In office
25 June 1946 – 31 January 1948
ConstituencyParma
Personal details
Born(1920-04-10)10 April 1920
Reggio Emilia, Italy
Died4 December 1999(1999-12-04) (aged 79)
Rome, Italy
NationalityItalian
Political partyPCI (1943–1991)
PDS (1991–1998)
DS (1998–1999)
Domestic partnerPalmiro Togliatti (1946–1964)
Alma materUniversità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
ProfessionPolitician
Teacher
WebsiteNilde Iotti Foundation

Leonilde Iotti, commonly known as Nilde Iotti (Italian pronunciation: [ˈnilde ˈjɔtti]; 10 April 1920 – 4 December 1999) was an Italian politician, member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). She was the first woman ever to become President of the Chamber of Deputies, an office who held for three consecutive legislatures from 1979 to 1992, becoming the longest-serving post-war President of the Chamber.

Early life

Nilde Iotti was born in Reggio Emilia in 1920; her father Egidio was a railroader and a socialist trade unionist, fired by the railway company due to his political commitment. In 1934, her father died, but, thanks to a scholarship, she attended the Catholic University of Milan, graduating in Literature in 1942. At the university, she had, among her professors, Amintore Fanfani, future Christian democratic leader and Prime Minister.[1] On 5 October 1942, Iotti became a member of the National Fascist Party (PNF) within the Federation of Female Fascists of Reggio Emilia, as the fascist membership was a necessary condition to become a teacher.[2]

After Benito Mussolini's downfall in July 1943 and Pietro Badoglio's proclamation on September 8, which caused the beginning of the civil war, Iotti became interested in communist ideals and took part in the resistance movement against the Nazi German invaders during World War II.[3]

Political career

Nilde Iotti and Palmiro Togliatti before 1964

After the end of the war and the referendum against the Savoy Monarchy, in 1946, she was elected member of the Constituent Assembly, within the Italian Communist Party (PCI). She was also one of the 75 members of the Committee entrusted with the drafting of the Italian Republican Constitution.

In the same year, she started her relationship with the communist leader, Palmiro Togliatti, 27 years older than her, which lasted until his death in 1964. Their relationship, which was kept secret in the early years, became of public domain in 1948, after an attempt on Togliatti's life, a few days after the general election. Their love was quite opposed by Italy's public opinion, including many communists, because Togliatti was already married to Rita Montagnana at the time. However, Togliatti forced his wife Rita and their son Aldo, who was mentally ill, to live in Moscow, thus he could continue his relationship with Iotti. Together they asked and obtained the affiliation of an orphan girl, Marisa Malagoli, the younger sister of one of the six workers killed by Carabinieri on 9 January 1950, in Modena, during a workers' demonstration.[4]

In April 1948 Iotti was re-elected with the PCI to the Chamber of Deputies, of which she was member without interruption until 1999. In 1956, she became a member of the Central Committee of the Party and in 1962 of the National Direction. Re-elected to the Chamber in 1963, she was appointed in the Constitutional Affairs Commission, focusing her activity on the relevance of the female role in the world of work and family relationships. In the following years, her main commitment turned out to be the reform on civil rights, as the right to divorce. She was particularly involved in the campaign for the 1974 divorce referendum.

After 1979 election, thanks to the support of PCI's historic rival, the Christian Democracy (DC), Iotti became President of the Chamber of Deputies, with 443 votes out of 615. She succeeded another communist, Pietro Ingrao. Iotti focused her first speech in front of the house on women's role in the society as well as the fight on terrorism.

She was popular and respected as a president, and was confirmed in the office for two more legislatures. In 1987, she was entrusted by President Francesco Cossiga with a mandate of potentially forming a government. She became the first communist and the first woman to have ever received an exploratory mandate to become Prime Minister of Italy; however, Iotti was not able to form a coalition.

In 1992, the name of Nilde Iotti was mentioned for the election of the President of the Italian Republic.

Personal life

She was an atheist.[5]

Death

She died in Rome on 4 December 1999 and she is buried in the Cimitero del Verano.

Electoral history

Election House Constituency Party Votes Result
1946 Constituent Assembly Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 15,936 ☑Y Elected
1948 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 51,340 ☑Y Elected
1953 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 33,480 ☑Y Elected
1958 Chamber of Deputies Bologna–Ferrara–Ravenna–Forlì PCI 48,937 ☑Y Elected
1963 Chamber of Deputies Bologna–Ferrara–Ravenna–Forlì PCI 19,969 ☑Y Elected
1968 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 47,406 ☑Y Elected
1972 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 51,203 ☑Y Elected
1976 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 55,282 ☑Y Elected
1979 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 52,949 ☑Y Elected
1983 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 69,632 ☑Y Elected
1987 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PCI 74,273 ☑Y Elected
1992 Chamber of Deputies Parma–Modena–Piacenza–Reggio Emilia PDS 32,077 ☑Y Elected
1994 Chamber of Deputies Marche at-large PDS [a] ☑Y Elected
1996 Chamber of Deputies Marche at-large PDS [a] ☑Y Elected
  1. ^ a b Elected in a closed list proportional representation system.

Notes