Rome

Foreign voting fraud claims 'an old film' - Renzi (2)

'Offensive' says Gentiloni

Foreign voting fraud claims 'an old film' - Renzi (2)

Rome, December 2 - Premier Matteo Renzi said a row about alleged fraud in the foreign vote in Sunday's Constitutional reform referendum was like watching an old film. "It's a film that comes on again every so often, the foreign vote was proposed by then centre-right minister (Mirko) Tremaglia and voted by the left. I don't understand why they say that there (in the foreign voting) there is fraud, why fuel tensions and polemics?" The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) has claimed there culd be fraud both in the way the foreign vote is collected and in alleged bias towards a Yes vote for the government's overhaul of Italy's political machinery. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni also weighed into the row Friday. Speaking of fraud in the foreign vote, he said, "is not only nonsense but is also offensive for all the institutions carrying out this task". "When I see in certain papers that the consular or diplomatic network has urged people to vote Yes I am forced to intervene to defend the institution I represent," Gentiloni said. "There is a foreign-voting system and like in every country you vote by correspondence, and naturally that brings levels of delicacy greater than a voting station guarded by the army," Gentiloni added. The M5S and other opponents of Renzi's reform have said they may appeal if it is approved thanks to the votes of Italians abroad. "We believe fundamental principles of the law covering Italians living abroad have been violated," the 'No' committee said last week. "We'd be very upset if the 'Yes' win by a small margin (due to those votes). There are grounds for an appeal". Gentiloni last week defended voting procedures for Italians who live abroad after M5S MP Daniele Del Grosso accused the government of "being unable to guarantee" the vote abroad can't be tampered with, and also of sending letters from Renzi arguing for a 'Yes' vote at the same time as the ballot slips.

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