Italian Senate Approves Constitutional Reform By Meloni Govt

(MENAFN- IANS) Rome, June 19 (IANS/DPA) The Italian Senate has approved a controversial constitutional reform put forward by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government.

A total of 109 members voted in favour of the reform in the smaller of the two chambers of Parliament in Rome on Tuesday, with 77 against.

The reform still faces several more hurdles before it can become law.

The ruling parties celebrated after the vote, while the opposition protested and symbolically held up copies of the constitution.

The constitutional reform stipulates that in future the Prime Minister would be directly elected for five years and the coalition supporting the winning candidate would be given at least 55 per cent of seats in both Houses of Parliament to make sure it has a workable majority.

The 109 votes secured in the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional changes in both chambers in Italy.

It is also not expected to receive such a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. If the two-thirds majorities are not secured, the measure has to be put to a referendum.

The last time such a referendum was held, was in 2016, the then head of government Matteo Renzi lost the vote and had to resign as a result.

The right-wing government in Rome wants to use the reform to combat the chronic instability of Italian governments.

Italy has had a total of nearly 70 governments since the end of the Second World War. While many agree that the political system therefore needs to be overhauled, the Meloni government's reform has been sharply criticised by the opposition.

They fear that Meloni could take important powers away from Parliament and the President.

Opposition leader Elly Schlein said that the reform would turn the governmental structure in Italy upside down, and concentrate power in a single person.

The opposition announced its intention to take action against the plan.



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