Rome, October 12 - A controversial bill for a new election law passed the third of three confidence votes it was put to in the Lower House on Thursday. Article 3 of the so-called Rosatellum 2.0 bill was approved with 309 votes in favour, 87 against and six abstentions. After passing the two other confidence tests on Wednesday, the bill is expected to face a final test in the Lower House with a secret vote later on Thursday, when it risks being scuppered if lawmakers belonging to groups backing the bill do not following the line of their parties. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and several left-wing groups are staunchly against the bill and say the use of confidence votes to push it through parliament is an affront to democracy. There is also tension within the ruling Democratic Party (PD) and former president Giorgio Napolitano criticised the confidence move, lamenting the limitations it put on the parliamentary debate and lawmakers' ability for shape the bill. Ex-premier Massimo D'Alema, a member of PD splinter group MDP, blasted the bill as "an unacceptable law, the (PD) leaders are wearing out democracy". Italy is set to have a general election early next year. Those who attack the PD weaken the only "bulwark against populism," PD leader Matteo Renzi said Wednesday, citing as populists the M5S, former centre-right premier Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-euro, anti-migrant Northern League (LN). On the PD-led government's controversial use of confidence votes to push through an election-law bill, ex-premier Renzi recalled that postwar Christian Democrat statesman Alcide De Gasperi used confidence votes for key policies.
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