Coalitional behaviour is central to the Italian system of government but has been largely neglected by research. As a result, coalitions in post-war Italy have been viewed as simply unstable, short-lived and incohesive. In this book, the author corrects this one-sidedness by analysing Italian coalition politics as a continuous and dynamic process. His comprehensive, interpretative approach takes account of other new developments in coalition studies and relates his subject both to the literature on Italian politics and to the comparative study of party systems in liberal democracies. An introductory section places Italian coalitional behaviour in a theoretical and comparative context. This inductive framework is then used as a reference for examining the historical, institutional, motivational, internal, socio-political andenvironmental dimensions of the phemen.