- Title: Italy to hold referendum on constitutional reform on Dec 4 - government
- Date: 26th September 2016
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF ITALIAN LOWER CHAMBER OF PARLIAMENT SECURITY AT DOOR FLAGS ABOVE ENTRANCE INTERIOR OF NEWS CONFERENCE ROOM ITALIAN GOVERNMENT UNDERSECRETARY CLAUDIO DE VINCENTI ARRIVING NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN GOVERNMENT UNDERSECRETARY, CLAUDIO DE VINCENTI, SAYING: ''Good evening everyone. The Council of Ministers has today agreed on the 4th of December for the popular referendum, as contemplated by Article 138 of our Constitution, a referendum on the text of the law of constitutional reform which includes measures to overcome the bicameral parliamentary system, the reduction of the number of members of parliament, the reduction of the running costs of institutions, the abolition of the National Council for Economy and Work (CNEL) and the revision of the 5th Title of the Constitution on local governments.'' MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN GOVERNMENT UNDERSECRETARY, CLAUDIO DE VINCENTI, SAYING: ''There is no particular reason (to have chosen December 4). In any case, we think that from now to the 4th of December there is a fair time to develop an in-depth debate among citizens on the contents of the reforms, which are the key issue. Citizens are called to decide, as it is just when the choice made will impact the way institutions work.'' STREETS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME RESIDENT, RODOLFO GRADOLI, SAYING: ''If the 'No' wins in the referendum, I think it will have a big significance and it will have an impact. I will vote 'No'. Because I don't think the proposed reforms will change much.'' (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME RESIDENT, MANLIO TORRE, SAYING: ''I think the situation is far from being the best. However, my only wish is that the outcome will help the young, will result in more employment, will help create jobs for the young people.'' (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) GIORGIO SULLA, SAYING: ''I will vote 'Yes'. (Reporter asks if there are fears that the referendum might cause a government crisis). I think there will be no crisis. I think (Italian Prime Minister Matteo) Renzi will stay on until 2018, no matter what happens. If 'Yes' wins he will stay, if 'No' wins he will stay.'' VARIOUS OF STREETS SCENES NEAR ITALIAN LOWER CHAMBER OF PARLIAMENT
- Embargoed: 11th October 2016 19:16
- Keywords: referendum vote Matteo Renzi prime minister PM
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- City: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001517EPMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A referendum over Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's flagship constitutional reform will be held on December 4, a government official said on Monday (September 26), with the fate of the Italian government likely to hinge on the outcome.
Renzi says the reform will bring much-needed political stability to Italy and has repeatedly pledged to resign if voters reject his proposals to cut the powers of the upper house Senate and reduce the number of parliamentarians.
However, some recent opinion polls have put the 'No' camp ahead and Renzi now refuses to be drawn on his future, saying he does not want the issue to dominate the referendum debate.
Renzi originally said he wanted to hold the ballot in early October, but he has pushed back the vote to one of the last practicable dates allowed to him by law to give the government more time to win over a sceptical electorate.
It is a huge political gamble for the centre leader, with polls showing many of the 50 million voters undecided, with the "No" camp gaining momentum in what will be a very close campaign.
The constitutional reform, which was approved by parliament in April after almost two years of fierce debate, effectively abolishes the Senate as an elected chamber and prevents it from bringing down a government via a vote of no-confidence.
It would increase the powers of the central government, diluting those of Italy's 20 regions on issues such as the environment, transport and energy. Twinned with a new, two-round voting system for the lower house, the changes should finally make Italy a governable country, Renzi says.
But opposition parties, such as the anti-immigrant Northern League, say it will strip away democratic checks put in place after the war to prevent the rise of another political strongman like Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
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