Boost for Italian leader Renzi as electoral reform Bill passes

Significant success for prime minister as ‘Italicum’ approved by lower house

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: said the new legislation will create clarity and stability as it should shield governments from being undermined by political or electoral allies. Photograph: Olivier Morinolivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: said the new legislation will create clarity and stability as it should shield governments from being undermined by political or electoral allies. Photograph: Olivier Morinolivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

 

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi recorded an important success in his ambitious programme of institutional reform when Italy’s lower house tonight approved his new electoral legislation, the so-called “Italicum”.

Significantly, dissident members of his own party voted against the measure, while opposition forces such as the M5S, Forza Italia, the Northern League and Fratelli d’Italia abandoned the chamber when it came to the vote.

The new Bill, which applies only to the lower house, does not become law until July 1st next year. This is to allow time for a parallel reform, establishing a non-elected Senate, to be passed into law. Essentially, the Italicum awards a large majority “bonus” to the party which gains more than 40 per cent of the national vote. If no party earns a 40 per cent vote, then the two biggest parties contest a run-off vote.

Predicting the result on Monday morning, Mr Renzi had said that the new legislation will create clarity and stability as it should shield governments from being undermined by political or electoral allies.