For this unfortunate combination Signor Sonnino himself was not altogether to blame; having lost many of his most faithful followers, who, weary of waiting for office, had gone over to the enemy, he had been forced to seek support among men who had professed hostility to the existing order of things and thus to secure at least the neutrality of the Extreme Left and make the public realize that the reddest of Socialists, Radicals and Republicans may be tamed and rendered harmless by the offer of cabinet appointments.
Depretis, for his part, was compelled to declare impracticable the immediate abolition of the grist tax, and to frame a bill for the increase of revenue, acts which caused the secession of some sixty Radicals and Republicans from the ministerial majority, and gave the signal for an agitation against the premier similar to that which he himself had formerly undertaken against the Right.
More than ever at the mercy of the Radicals and of their revolutionary allies, Rudini continued so to administer public affairs that subversive propaganda and associations obtained unprecedented extension.
The general election of June 1900 not only failed to reinforce the cabinet, but largely increased the strength of the extreme parties (Radicals, Republicans and Socialists), who in the new Chamber numbered nearly 100 out of a total of 508.
In the former there had been a fusion between the Radicals, supporters of the autonomy of Poland and a federal constitution for the empire, and the Independence party (Osvobozhdenya) formed by political exiles at Paris in 1903, the fusion taking the name of Constitutional Democrats, known (from a word-play on the initials K.D.) as " Cadets."