Italy – Bill to directly elect the president passes the Senate

Many thanks to Gianluca Passarelli for alerting me to this story.

In Italy La Repubblica is reporting that the Senate has approved a constitutional amendment that would introduce the direct election of the president. The reform is supported by the right and opposed by the left.

The next parliamentary election is scheduled for April 2013. There is very little likelihood that this reform will be passed before then. According to Wikipedia, constitutional amendments require a bill to be passed twice by each House of Parliament and, if on the second occasion there is only a simple majority (i.e. 50%+1) rather than a two-thirds majority, then a referendum is required. Even if the current bill had large support, it is unlikely that this process would be completed before the dissolution of the current legislature.

The direct election of the president is a reform that is now promoted primarily by Silvio Berlusconi and his PDL party, which almost inevitably makes it controversial. However, it shows that semi-presidentialism is still part of the public debate in Italy.

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