Lunedì, 15 Ottobre 2018
ROME

>>>ANSA/ Parliament to set about revamping institutional set-up

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, May 15 - The Italian parliament will start
debating institutional reforms designed to make the country
easier to govern on May 29, Relations with Parliament Minister
Dario Franceschini said Wednesday.
Premier Enrico Letta has said these institutional reforms
are a priority for his left-right coalition government, which
was sworn in last month to end Italy's two-month post-election
political deadlock.
The parliamentary debate will be based on a draft of
measures Letta's cabinet agreed on during a 24-hour 'retreat' at
a former abbey in Tuscany on Sunday and Monday.
The proposals will include a new election law to replace
the much-criticised current one that failed to produce a clear
winner in February's general election.
Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) came first in
February but was unable to form a government alone because it
did not have a working majority in the Senate and ended up
having to make a pact with its longstanding enemy, ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party.
The current election law, widely derided as a "pig's sty"
since it was framed by the centre right ahead of the 2006
elections, has also been blasted because it awards an unfairly
large bonus to the top party in the House and does not allow
voters to pick their MPs.
The fact voters cannot express preferences about which of
the candidates on any given party list they want to go to
parliament means party bosses effectively decide who becomes a
lawmaker by setting the order in which candidates feature on the
lists.
Some commentators have said this means politicians are more
interested in pleasing their party superiors than they are in
helping their constituents
The reform measures will also look to change the current
parliamentary set-up in which all laws must be approved by both
the House and Senate.
This is seen by many as being one of the major sources of
dysfunction for Italy's institutions.
Letta's government aims to keep the Lower House as the main
law-making chamber of parliament, while turning the Senate into
an assembly of Italian regions.
"These institutional reforms have failed to come to
fruition for 30 years," said Franceschini, who announced the
date of the start of the debate after a meeting with party whips
on Wednesday.
"Now the government is actively working to make this path
of reform concrete, with full respect for parliamentary
sovereignty.
"The issue of reforms may seem abstract to the public, but
in reality, the lack of reform has produced a situation of
paralysis that the whole county is paying for".
The plan is for the process in parliament to be flanked by
the work of a special panel formed by the House and Senate
constitutional affairs committees, with input from independent
unelected experts.
Franceschini said the constitutional affairs committees
will start work on the reforms on May 22 and both houses of
parliament will start debating proposals a week later.
He added that he wants all the parties in parliament,
including those not supporting Letta's government, to take part
in the process of passing the reforms.
"I hope that the path is shared as much as possible," said
Franceschini, a PD MP.
This comment was probably directed primarily at
comedian-turned politician Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment
5-Star Movement (M5S).
The movement, which won around a quarter of the vote in
February's election, wants to see the end of the current party
system, which it says has produced corruption and ineffective
government.

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