Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
ROME

Letta faces obstruction battle over reforms

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, July 26 - Premier Enrico Letta's government
faces a battle with opposition parties determined to obstruct
the its drive to push a reform bill through parliament before
the summer recess.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the
leftwing SEL want the bill establishing procedures to introduce
changes to the Constitution to revamp Italy's public
institutions and make the country easier to govern delayed until
after the recess in September.
The M5S has vowed to continue to use obstructionist tactics
after it drew out final approval in the Lower House of a
separate decree on growth measures until Friday by deliberately
extending the debate of the measure.
The growth package, which now passes to the Senate, won
confidence vote on Wednesday and the filibustering caused
knock-on delays to the examination of other measures.
M5S House whip Riccardo Nuti also called on President
Giorgio Napolitano to intervene in the reform bill row on
Friday.
"An intervention from the president would suffice," said
Nuti.
"When we had a meeting with him he was quite critical of
setting the schedule for the reform bill by the end of July.
"Why doesn't he make his voice heard and say what he said
to us?".
The bill regards the procedures for the institutional
reforms that are set to be framed by a panel of 40 members of
parliament after consulting a committee of 35 experts on the
Constitution.
Changes to the Constitution should include stripping
the Senate of law-making powers and turning it into a regional
assembly and a rewrite of the electoral law.
At present the Senate has the same powers as the House, and
legislation has to be approved in the same form in both houses,
making lawmaking a drawn-out affair.
The current electoral law has been widely criticised
because it does not let voters pick their MPs and tends to
produce different majorities in the two houses, as happened in
February's general election which led to two months of deadlock.
Letta has said he will resign if the reforms are not framed
in 18 months.
The obstruction problem is another headache for Letta, who
faces a tough task in keeping his coalition together given
policy differences between his centre-left Democratic Party (PD)
and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Freedom (PdL) party.
The PdL also may pull the plug on the government if the
Constitutional Court on Tuesday upholds a four-year conviction
against Berlusconi for fraud at his media empire that comes with
a five-year band from holding public office.
Letta's executive also faces threats from his own party,
with many parts of the PD unhappy about it being in government
with their long-standing bitter rivals in the PdL.
At a party meeting Friday caretaker PD Secretary Guglielmo
Epifani said the party will hold a congress to elect a new
permanent leader by the end of November.
Epifani said the new PD leader should focus on the party
and automatically not be its premier candidate the next time
there are elections.
PD rising star Matteo Renzi, who had led some internal
grumblings about Letta's government, is considering running to
be party leader, but wants the position to come with
premier-candidate status.
Letta's cabinet, meanwhile, on Friday approved a bill that
will strip many of the powers of Italy's provincial governments
ahead of plans for them to be abolished completely as part of
the Constitutional reforms.
The move to abolish the provincial governments is part of a
drive to reduce the cost of Italy's political apparatus as the
country' struggles to emerge from its longest recession in over
two decades.
Letta's government has also presented a bill to phase out
public funding of political parties and there are plans to cut
the number of lawmakers in parliament too.

© Riproduzione riservata

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