Mercoledì, 26 Settembre 2018

Crunch approaches for contested election law (3)


Rome, October 12 - A crunch secret vote loomed for a
contested election-law bill Thursday evening after it earlier
passed the last of three confidence votes called to push it
through the Lower House.
The bill, which aims to encourage parties to form coalitions,
is supported by three of the biggest groups in parliament:
ex-premier Matteo Renzi and Premier Paolo Gentiloni's Democratic
Party (PD), ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's opposition
centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party, and Matteo Salvini's
anti-euro, anti-migrant opposition Northern League (LN).
It is also backed by the junior government partner, the small
centre-right Popular Alternative (AP).
Some of the PD and FI MPs, in particular, are expected to
buck the party line in the secrecy of the voting booth, after
being forced to vote in favour by the open confidence votes.
According to an informal tally by the Italian media, some 120
so-called 'snipers' would be enough to shoot down the bill, but
currently only about 90 of them have tipped their hand.
The bill will then move to the Senate where the numbers are
even tighter.
The bill is being hotly contested by the anti-establishment
5-Star Movement (M5S), which says it has been designed to
scupper their chances of winning the next general election,
expected before spring.
It is also opposed by small leftwing groups such as the MDP,
a splinter of the PD that broke off after long-running
disagreements with Renzi.
Like the M5S, they see it as an affront to democracy - both
in the way it is being rammed through parliament and because it
does not allow voters to pick their MPs.
M5S heavyweight Alessandro Di Battista said shortly before
the vote: "let's hope in a miracle.
"Let's hope the PD MPs show some dignity," he said, calling
the bill "a disgrace".

The controversial bill passed the third of three confidence
votes it was put to in the Lower House early on Thursday.
Article 3 of the so-called Rosatellum 2.0 bill was approved
with 309 votes in favour, 87 against and six abstentions.
There is tension within the ruling PD and former president
Giorgio Napolitano criticised the confidence move, lamenting the
limitations it put on the parliamentary debate and lawmakers'
ability for shape the bill.
Ex-premier Massimo D'Alema, a senior member of the MDP,
blasted the bill as "an unacceptable law, the (PD) leaders
are wearing out democracy".
Italy is set to have a general election early next year.
Those who attack the PD weaken the only "bulwark against
populism," PD leader Matteo Renzi said Wednesday, citing as
populists the M5S, Berlusconi and the LN.
On the PD-led government's controversial use of confidence
votes to push through an election-law bill, ex-premier and PDc
leader Renzi recalled that postwar Christian Democrat statesman
Alcide De Gasperi used confidence votes for key policies.
The Rosatellum 2, nicknamed after Democratic Party (PD) Lower
House whip Ettore Rosato, would harmonise the present differing
laws for the House and the Senate.
It would introduce a system that is two-thirds proportional
representation and one-third first-past-the-post system aimed at
favouring the emergence of a winner.
There are fears the next general election could be
inconclusive, even with the new law that ups the pressure on
parties to team up into coalitions.
Another controversial element of the bill, highlighted by the
M5S and others, are new rules for getting elected abroad which
would allegedly favour the election of former Berlusconi
heavyweight and leader of the small centrist ALA group, Denis
Verdini, who would otherwise be banned because of criminal

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