Although he was given extraordinary powers to restore order, Mussolini initially governed constitutionally. He headed a coalition government in 1923 that included Liberals, Nationalists, and Catholics, as well as Fascists. But after the violence of the 1924 elections and the murder of the Socialist Party deputy Giacomo Matteotti in 1924, Mussolini moved to suspend constitutional government. He proceeded in stages to establish a dictatorship by forbidding the parliament to initiate legislation; by making himself responsible to the king alone; by ordering parliament to authorize him to issue decrees having the force of law; by establishing absolute censorship of the press; and, in 1926, by suppressing all opposition parties.
In 1928 Mussolini took further measures to transform the nation into a Fascist state. The Grand Council of the Fascist Party, under Mussolini’s control, was given power to select candidates for the Chamber of Deputies, and it was to be consulted on all important business of the government, especially the choice of an heir to the throne and successor to Mussolini.
Mussolini scored one of his greatest diplomatic triumphs in 1929, when he concluded the Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Roman Catholic Church. The treaty recognized the Vatican City as an independent sovereign state and compensated the papacy for its loss of territory. In return the pope recognized the kingdom of Italy. In 1934 Italy’s economic life was reorganized with the formation of 22 corporations, or guilds, representing workers and employers in all phases of the economy.
Each corporation included Fascist Party members on its governing council and had Mussolini as its president. These councils were organized into a National Council.
During the world economic depression that began in 1929, the Fascist government increasingly intervened to prevent the collapse of a number of industries. The construction of new factories or the expansion of old ones without governmental consent was prohibited.
The government reorganized the iron and steel industries, expanded hydroelectric plants, and embarked on other public works projects. The military was also expanded and strengthened. Near the end of 1933, Mussolini announced that the Italian Chamber of Deputies would be called upon to legislate itself out of existence and to transfer its functions to the National Council of Corporations. This step was finally taken in 1939. The Chamber of Deputies was replaced by a Chamber of Fasci and Corporations, composed of some 800 appointive members of the National Council of Corporations. In their respective industries the corporations were entrusted with regulating prices and wages, planning economic policies, and discharging other economic functions. "Italy" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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