Constitutional referendum in Italy: the first time for a concrete change

On December 4th Italy will cast its vote for the Constitutional Referendum. Since 1948, when the Constitution was approved and entered into force, Italy has never changed: this will be the first opportunity for Italy to change its outdated system and open the way to the reforms. Italian PM Matteo Renzi proposed the vote and is confident that Italy will get the change.

A general view of the Italian Senate is seen during a debate in Rome

From Reuters

Different aspects for a tangible change are included in the vote of the referendum.

Firstly, the entire reorganization and composition of the Senate which has the same representative and legislative power of the Chamber of Deputies

Secondly, the simplification of the election process of the President of the Republic, the main premiership of Italy: a process requiring months of negotiation and tactics which will be finally redesigned.

Thirdly, the executive power prerogatives: the referendum tries to achieve the possibility for the government to accelerate the legislative iter avoiding the tedious proceedings to make a proposed law effective.

So what if the people vote no and Renzi leaves politics? The departure of Renzi given a failure of the referendum concerns investors because, it could slant the country back to political chaos and commence a wider crisis in the EU economy, having debts up to 132,7% of GDP. Appearing exasperated with the European austerity policies has double advantage: structure Italy’s absent economic performance elsewhere and gives Mr Renzi an air of fashionable euro-skepticism.

But, what if the ’yes’ vote succeeds? The adoption of this new constitutional reform would offer an opportunity for voters to register a protest against his left-right coalition and, in particular, rely on the failure to revive the economy. The central and regional governments overlap has also been arguments to why this reform needs to be accomplished. The latest poll, for Eumetra, a research institute, estimated that when undecided voters and likely abstainers were stripped out, the opponents of the reform had increased their lead to 10 percentage points

Notwithstanding, the problem remains on the Senate and the House of Representatives having the same power condition. The jurisdiction concentrates in a single chamber and, therefore, decision making will drag out and legislation would outlive unresolved. Additionally, the reduction of  the number of Senators from 315 to 95, the abolition of the CNEL (the National Committee for Economics and Work which has always been a non binding institution expressing its opinion to the government with recommendations) and the stakes set for councillors and regional groups will reduce the cost of politics.

The aim is to make Italy a more governable country after it has had 60 different government in a period of 70 years, therefore, the new camera will be qualified to ratify amendments to the Constitution, international treaties, popular referendum, among others.

Moreover, vote ’yes’ would expect and increasing participation of the citizens of Italy by providing a more participatory democracy by lowering the quorum required for the validity of the outcome of referendums demanded at least 800,000 voters, but, just the 50% plus one in the number of voters at least.

This is a unique occasion for Italy to change its old and static system, trying to launch the country in the era of economical, and socio-political reforms and that’s the reason why all the European political partners recognize the positivity of the change as well.

«La partita è adesso e non tornerà. Non ci sarà un’altra occasione. Sono certo che non la sprecheremo». “The challenge is now and it won’t come back never again. There won’t be another chance and I am sure we won’t waste it” said the PM Matteo Renzi.


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