The “Dossettian” left wing of the DC withdrew from the government in 1949. In 1951, after much pressure brought to bear on him, partly by religious authorities, La Pira agreed to head the list of Christian Democrat candidates for the administrative elections of 10 and 11 June. A decisive factor in his acceptance was the project for providing a concrete, overall answer to the new political emergencies, especially in view of his experience in government which followed on that of the Constituent Assembly.
As a result of the victory of the four-party coalition (DC, PLI, PRI, PSDI), La Pira, who received over 19,000 preference votes, was for the first time elected Mayor of Florence, replacing Mario Fabiani, who for the four previous years had led a left-wing Council.
In 1952 La Pira was forced to resign his seat in Parliament. To exclude him an ad hoc law was passed making a parliamentary mandate incompatible with the function of mayor of a large city. On 15 December 1952 the President of the Lower House, Giovanni Gronchi, wrote to La Pira asking him to choose between the two careers. La Pira’s answer came in a lapidary telegram: “In view of the illicit alternative between Montecitorio and Florence, with which the House has faced me, I choose Florence, pearl of the world”.
Giorgio La Pira was to sit in Parliament again, from 1958 to 1960, and was once more elected Member in 1976, a year before he died. Otherwise he never again held any political appointment on the national level. In fact his relations with the seats of power in Rome and the leaders of the DC were destined to be somewhat troubled. Particularly famous are his disputes with Don Luigi Sturzo , the “spiritual father” of the Christian Democrat party.