D'Alema, Massimo mäs´sēmō˝ dälā´mä [key], 1949–, Italian politician, premier (1998–2000) of Italy. A member of the Italian Communist party (PCI) since 1968, he worked as a journalist and was active in the party and its youth arm. In 1987, D'Alema was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament) for the first time. With PCI leader Achille Occhetto and other young party leaders, he was actively involved in the process (1989–91) that transformed the party into the Democratic Party of the Left (from 1998 Democrats of the Left, from 2007 the Democratic party), and in 1994, D'Alema became leader of the party. Following the collapse of Romano Prodi 's government in 1998, D'Alema became Italian premier, heading an eclectic seven-party coalition; he was the first former Communist to head a Western European government. He resigned in Apr., 2000, after the coalition suffered losses in regional elections; his government was also weakened by the resistance of its smaller parties to D'Alema's push for an end to proportional representation in parliament. From 2006 to 2008 D'Alema was foreign minister in Romano Prodi's center-left government.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian History: Biographies