Italian referendum

June 26, 2006

I’ve just learned that the Italian electorate has overwhelmingly defeated a constitutional amendment proposed by Berlusconi and his coalition, opposed by Prodi and his, and passed by Parliament before the last election. It seems that Parliament could amend the constitution without a referendum but only by a two-thirds majority, and Berlusconi had nowhere near that. So the people got to vote.

As far as the press reports indicate, the main issues were regional autonomy – Berlusconi’s ally the Lega Nord wanted more of it, to keep northern revenues in the north – and something about increasing the powers of the Prime Minister, allowing him to dissolve Parliament. Ironically the current Prime Minister was against increasing his own powers. A sign of integrity perhaps.

Another irony is that in Spain the Right is opposed to increasing regional autonomy and the Socialist government is promoting it; in Italy it is the reverse…

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