Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
ROME

Experts put heads together on institutional revamp

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Rome, June 12 - A group of experts met in Rome
Thursday for the first time to start hashing out reforms of the
Italian Constitution in order to streamline government and avoid
parliamentary gridlock.
"The great thing (about the group) is that it
represents...a unique opportunity that is not being squandered,"
said Premier Enrico Letta at the start of the meeting.
He added that the group of 35 Constitutional experts would
have "full autonomy" in devising their recommendations.
"I'm here today merely to launch the race," he said.
The experts will compare their findings with a panel of 40
parliamentarians with the goal of framing reforms within an
18-month deadline.
"A final report should be ready by October 15 and then
handed over to parliament," said Constitutional Reforms Minister
Gaetano Quagliariello.
"We must do it without delay".
A bill laying out the procedures will have completed its
first reading in parliament by the end of July, the government
says.
Reforms will include a new electoral law, cutting the
number of MPs and stripping the Senate of its equal status to
the Lower House.
Law-making tends to move slowly in Italy because the Senate
has the same powers as the House, meaning legislation must pass
through both bodies.
Another mooted reform is to change the way the Italian
president is elected.
Currently he is voted in by parliament.
There is a groundswell on the right for changing this to
let the Italian people choose him, as in France and the United
States, but this is opposed by many on the left.
Any changes to the Constitution require a two-thirds
majority in both chambers.
If they do not get this, they are subject to a popular
referendum, which can abrogate the reform.
Finally, and perhaps most important, the expert advisors
will tackle election reform - a delicate issue for Letta's
government.
In the run-up to February elections, both the center left
and center right waffled on passing reforms.
The vote ultimately produced a virtual three-way tie
between Letta's center-left Democratic Party (PD), ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party,
and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian
Beppe Grillo.
The result led to a two-month parliamentary logjam brought
to an end in April when the PD and the PdL were forced into a
fragile alliance, which many predict could crumble at any
moment.

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