Rome

Govt 'to reclaim some regional powers'

Energy, ports and airports to return, not schools or healthcare

Govt 'to reclaim some regional powers'

(ANSA) - Rome, October 9 - The Italian government is set to reclaim a number of powers from the regions in response to a rash of scandals in regional spending. A draft reform of the Italian Constitution to be examined by Premier Mario Monti's cabinet Tuesday, of which ANSA obtained a copy, would bring energy, airports and ports back under central control. Education and healthcare would remain as they are, split between central and regional control, the draft bill says. Regional balance sheets would be subject to the control of the Audit Court. This year has seen scandals involving the alleged misuse of public funds in several regions including Lazio, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Campania, Molise, Calabria and Sicily. Lazio Governor Renata Polverini of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party stepped down after the PdL caucus leader in the regional assembly, Franco Fiorito, was arrested for alleged embezzlement. Monti said the scandals had left the Italian people "stunned and indignant" and dented Italy's image and credibility. Any change to the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and usually takes a long time. If that majority is not met, it is put to a referendum.

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