Home > News > World
Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 6:45:03 PM
Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 6:46:04 PM
ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) has reached an accord with centre-right parties over proposals to curtail the powers of the Senate, one of the key planks in a wider constitutional reform package.
The changes, agreed by party officials late on Friday, are intended to create the conditions for more stable government. They would concentrate power in the lower house and make it easier for a party to win a reliable parliamentary majority.
Under the current system of "perfect bicameralism," the Senate has virtually equal powers with the lower house but is elected through regional votes rather than a single national ballot. That increases the chances the two houses will end up with different majorities.
Under the accord, the Senate would become a regional chamber which would lose its power to pass legislation and to vote "no confidence" and bring down a government. It would still have the power to request amendments and vote on constitutional issues.
Responding to pressure for a cut in the cost of the overall political system, the number of senators would be cut from 315 to 100. Instead of being directly elected, they would mainly be mayors and local government representatives with a small number nominated by the president.
The accord will require a two-thirds majority in parliament to change the constitution, which it should get if the agreement with the opposition holds up. It is expected to be brought up for debate in parliament next month.
The agreement follows months of wrangling between the PD and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. A deadlock after last February's election had forced centre-left and centre-right parties into an unwieldy and fragile coalition, strengthening long-standing calls for an overhaul of the system.
A separate reform of the voting system is currently being discussed by the parties, with representatives from the PD expected to meet members of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement next week.
(Reporting By James Mackenzie; Editing by Larry King)
Italy's Renzi to spell out reform deal with Berlusconi
Italian parliament meets to seek way out of election gridlock
Irate Italian president begins talks on new coalition
Italy's Renzi issues warning as delays threaten voting reform
Italian president urges unity as poll pressure grows
U.S. recognises gay marriages in six more states
Protesters march against Renzi labour reforms in Rome
Mauritania closes border with Mali over Ebola fears
Brazil's election too close to call on eve of runoff
Iraqi security forces and Kurds gain ground against Islamic State
Major party supports move to extend Burkina Faso leader's rule
You can now throw those reading glasses away
Mesmerising Northern Territory – its parks and indigenous culture
Manchester City beaten at West Ham, Southampton win again
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)