‘Italian referendum more about public support for PM Renzi than constitutional reform’

© Stefano Rellandini
The upcoming referendum on amending the Italian Constitution will be a moment of truth for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, journalist Alessandra Quattrocchi told RT, adding that changes to the principal law are really needed.

On December 4, Italy is holding a referendum on the amendment of the country’s Constitution, proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

If the voters support the reform, it will see the number of Italian Senators cut by two-thirds to 100, allow the approval of many bills by the lower house of parliament only and centralize a number of functions previously granted to regional authorities.

Renzi explained that the amendments would make approving laws more efficient and cost effective, while the opposition slammed the bill for being badly written and giving too much power to the government.

“It is not a perfect reform,” Quattrocchi said, but still supported the idea of the referendum as changes are really needed in Italian lawmaking.

“The bicameral system as we have it now it makes it very complicated to pass laws, because some laws are constantly blocked in one chamber or the other,” she said.

“I think that it would be wise to go toward the direction… that most western countries have taken and to have a high chamber, a Senate that approves only part of the laws, the most important ones – the constitutional laws and the laws that have to deal with regional powers. But the most of the legislative action is taken in just one chamber,” the journalist said.

In case of a “Yes” vote on December 4, “the political system is going to be a bit simpler. It is going to be simpler to pass laws, it is going to be simpler to elect the government – this has to do with the electoral law. But the electoral law is somehow connected to the reform of the Constitution,” she said.

The amended electoral law will also “make it easier to have a strong government in power” because simply having a majority in the lower house would be enough for it to be effective, Quattrocchi said.

She said that the referendum would be more about revealing the level of public support for Renzi, than about the constitutional reform itself.

Many people will vote “No” because “they hope to oust Renzi from our government,” she said, adding that sending a message to Renzi is “the main reason why they are against it.”

The other reason for rejecting the amendments would be “this idea that the Constitution is sacred somehow, so we shouldn’t be allowed to touch it, or to change it,” the journalist said.

Defeating the reform would make Renzi “much feebler than he is now,” Quattrocchi said.

But on the contrary, “a ‘yes’ vote would make him very strong.”

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“The point to me is that there is nobody after him. I can’t see any politician in Italy who is going to do better or even remotely close to what he is doing now. The rest of the political panorama to me is a desert. I can’t see anything good in it. He is not perfect, but he is still much better than anyone else,” she said.

The journalist said it was Renzi who is now pushing for the electoral reform, which Italy has been waiting for 20 years. She stressed that she will vote “Yes” in the referendum.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.