Italians back referendum to reduce size of Parliament by a third
The Italian people have voted to slash the size of their Parliament by a third, with voters turning out in big numbers despite the pandemic.
With most of the vote counted, almost 63 per cent of Italians voted in favour of the reduction.
The turnout of almost 54 per cent of eligible voters, after a two-day poll confirming the measures, was a sign of Italians' strong "anti-political sentiments", said Luiss University political science professor Giovanni Orsina.
"The reason why most voters have voted in favour of the reductions of the parliamentarians, in my opinion, is that they wanted to have less professional politicians around," Mr Orsina said.
"So they thought that the reduction of the number was a kind of moralising factor on professional politicians."
The 'Yes' vote, supported by the Government Coalition which includes the Democratic Party and the Five-Star Movement, confirmed a constitutional amendment already voted by the Parliament to cut Lower House representatives from 630 to 400 and those in the Senate from 315 to 200.
"This might be an occasion to make all the Parliamentary procedures more efficient, to rethink the relationship between Government and Parliament," Mr Orsina said.
"But it must be seen whether this occasion is going to actually be exploited by the present majority that remains quite weak and divided.""This could be a great occasion to fine-tune the Italian institutions. At present they are not very efficient.
Even though the referendum had cross-party support, the Coalition majority Five-Star Movement claimed victory in its success, saying it showed voters still responded to the party's anti-establishment, reform-minded ethos.
Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti said his party was "very, very satisfied" with the result.
"This is a confirmation that the Democratic Party is a force of change, granting also during this Government mandate, a path of innovation and modernisation of institutions which we have long felt the need for," Mr Zingaretti said.
Luciana Lamorgese, from Italian Ministry of the Interior, said the turnout was only slightly smaller than the 2016 Italian referendum proposing extensive constitutional reform, which was held without the threat of the coronavirus."With the victory of the YES vote, a season of reforms is opening up in front of us."
We should do the same here.
Says something that voter turnout was so high for this despite covid. Italians don't like freeloaders