Francesco De Martino

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Francesco De Martino
Francesco De Martino.jpg
Lifetime Senator
In office
15 June 1978 – 9 November 2001
Appointed by Francesco Cossiga
Constituency Presidential nomination
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy
In office
12 December 1968 – 5 July 1969
Prime Minister Mariano Rumor
Preceded by Pietro Nenni
Succeeded by Paolo Emilio Taviani
In office
6 August 1960 – 15 January 1962
Prime Minister Emilio Colombo
Preceded by Paolo Emilio Taviani
Succeeded by Mario Tanassi
Personal details
Born (1907-05-31)31 May 1907
Naples, Campania, Italy
Died 18 November 2002(2002-11-18) (aged 95)
Naples, Campania, Italy
Political party Socialist Party

Francesco de Martino (31 May 1907, Naples – 18 November 2002, Naples) was an Italian jurist, politician, lifetime senator (1991-2002) and former Vice President of the Council of Ministers. He was considered by many to be the conscience of the Italian Socialist Party.[1]


He graduated from the law school Federico II in Naples, and, under the guidance of Enrico De Nicola, embarked on the study of law and economics and became a distinguished scholar of Roman law.

Emeritus Professor of law at the law school Federico II in Naples, he published several tomes, among which, the History of the Roman Constitution (in six tomes, which was compared for his monumental significance to the "Staatsrecht" by Theodor Mommsen) and the Economic History of Ancient Rome; his publications were translated in English, Spanish, German, French and Chinese.

He first joined the Action Party (an anti-fascist political party) in 1943, and then joined the reconstituted Socialist party in 1945.

At the first elections of the new Italian Republic in 1948, he was elected to Parliament with the Popular Front alliance of communists and socialists. He soon won the confidence of party leader Pietro Nenni, to whom he became vice secretary.

When, in 1963, Nenni became Vice President of the Council of Ministers, or Deputy Prime Minister in the first centre-left government of Aldo Moro, De Martino took over as party secretary.

De Martino was, in two times, the PSI's candidate to the presidential elections, in 1971 and 1978. This time, however, the more popular socialist, the former Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Sandro Pertini was elected. De Martino candidacy was tarnished when the family paid a 1bn lire ransom for his release his son Guido who was kidnapped by the Camorra. The kidnappers were eventually captured, but those behind them were never discovered.[1]

In 1976, he was ousted as party secretary by Bettino Craxi when the PSI lost in the elections falling below 10% for the first time. De Martino became the scapegoat, and Craxi became Italy's first socialist Prime Minister in 1983.

Nonetheless, he continued to be elected to the Parliament, and, in 1992, was appointed senator for life at which point he joined the post-communist Democrats of the Left, whom he considered "the true heirs to socialist values". He was dismayed by the demise of the historical socialist party after the corruption under Craxi.

He resumed his academic career at the law school Federico II, where his secular funeral was celebrated in the presence of the President of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

He is survived by his children, Armando, Guido, Antonino, Elisa and Laura.


  1. ^ a b Obituary Francesco De Martino, The Guardian, November 22, 2002

External links

Media related to Francesco De Martino at Wikimedia Commons

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