Pertini, Sandro (Alessandro Pertini), 1896–1990, Italian political leader and journalist, president of Italy (1978–1985). He served in World War I, then became a founding member of the Socialist party (1918) and received a law degree from the Univ. of Genoa. Sentenced to prison (1929) for his involvement in the antifascist movement, he was freed by the Allies (1943), rearrested by the Germans and sentenced to death, then escaped (1944) and joined the underground. After World War II, he was elected to Italy's Constitutent Assembly (1946), which wrote a new constitution. In 1953 he was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies; he served as chairman from 1968 to 1976. In 1978 he was elected president of Italy, a largely ceremonial post. Known for his uncompromising honesty and an ability to work with people of all political leanings, Pertini was one of Italy's most popular leaders.
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