Italy heads for referendum on cutting number of parliamentarians

By Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - Italian parliamentarians have gathered enough signatures to put to a referendum a law already approved which would have cut their number by a third at the next election. The law, championed by the ruling 5-Star Movement, was approved in October by an overwhelming majority after the long passage through parliament which is needed for constitutional changes.

Reuters December 19, 2019 00:13:01 IST
Italy heads for referendum on cutting number of parliamentarians

Italy heads for referendum on cutting number of parliamentarians

By Gavin Jones

ROME (Reuters) - Italian parliamentarians have gathered enough signatures to put to a referendum a law already approved which would have cut their number by a third at the next election.

The law, championed by the ruling 5-Star Movement, was approved in October by an overwhelming majority after the long passage through parliament which is needed for constitutional changes.

However, many parliamentarians quickly set to work to try to block the reform, which would reduce the number of deputies to 400 from 630 and cut the senators to 200 from 315.

Constitutional reforms involving the workings of parliament can be halted and put to a referendum if one fifth of the members of one of the houses sign a petition requesting it within three months of the reform being passed in parliament.

The parliamentary committee in charge of the petition announced on Wednesday it had garnered the 64 signatures required in the senate.

The referendum still has to be approved by the constitutional court before its date can be set, but the court is considered unlikely to withhold its consent.

The setback for the reform is likely to infuriate the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and could accentuate tensions in the ruling coalition whose parties are already at odds over a raft of issues from euro zone reform to migrant rights.

5-Star has long argued that 1,000-odd generously paid parliamentarians are too many and a waste of taxpayers' money.

It made the reform a key conditions for forming a government with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in September, after the collapse of its previous coalition with Matteo Salvini's right-wing League.

However, numerous PD lawmakers have come out against the reform and one of them was on the organising committee for the petition. The full list of signatories was to be made public at a news conference later on Wednesday.

With many parliamentarians apparently fearing for their seats, the referendum could increase the risk of a government collapse early next year.

This is because if there is an election before the referendum takes place, it will be held under the current rules envisaging the election of all 1,000-odd parliamentarians.

(Editing by Jon Boyle)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

More than 20 killed in Mali airstrike on wedding ceremony - health worker
World

More than 20 killed in Mali airstrike on wedding ceremony - health worker

DAKAR (Reuters) - More than 20 people, including children, were killed in an airstrike during a wedding ceremony in central Mali on Sunday, a health worker with knowledge of the attack told Reuters. (Reporting By Edward McAllister; Editing by Aaron Ross)

Bleak start to new year for Britain as it enters third lockdown
World

Bleak start to new year for Britain as it enters third lockdown

By Estelle Shirbon and Natalie Thomas LONDON (Reuters) - Britain began its third COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday with the government calling for one last major national effort to defeat the spread of a virus that has infected an estimated one in 50 citizens before mass vaccinations turn the tide. Finance minister Rishi Sunak announced a new package of business grants worth 4.6 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) to help keep people in jobs and firms afloat until measures are relaxed gradually, at the earliest from mid-February but likely later

France cranks up COVID-19 vaccine rollout to deliver shots faster
World

France cranks up COVID-19 vaccine rollout to deliver shots faster

By Dominique Vidalon and Sudip Kar-Gupta PARIS (Reuters) - France is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccine rollout by widening the first target group to include more health workers and simplifying a cumbersome process to deliver shots more quickly, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday. France's inoculation campaign got off to a slow start, hampered in part by red tape and President Emmanuel Macron's decision to tread warily in one of the world's most vaccine-sceptical countries. France has fallen behind neighbours such as Britain and Germany, and the president is now demanding the vaccination programme be expedited