Rome

Confidence vote on electoral law in Senate- Pizzetti (3)

To get round dozens of secret votes

Confidence vote on electoral law in Senate- Pizzetti (3)

Rome, October 23 - Undersecretary for Relations with Parliament Luciano Pizzetti on Monday told reporters it was "unthinkable not to resort to confidence votes when there are dozens of secret votes" lined up on the Rosatellum 2.0 election-law bill in the Senate. Many of the Rosatellum amendments would require a secret vote, he said, and calling a confidence vote would avoid this. The government's use of confidence votes to force the election-law bill through the Lower House last week aroused protests from opposition parties including the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). However, the government had been widely expected to resort to the same means to get the bill through the Senate, where numbers are even tighter than in the Lower House. The M5S on Monday appealed to President Sergio Mattarella to intervene to convince the parties backing a bill for the new election law to change it. The M5S's parliamentary whips also appealed to the head of State to refuse to sign the bill into law if this is not possible. "We ask President Mattarella to intervene within his role of moral persuasion of the political parties and the institutions, so that the unconstitutional elements are removed," the whips said in a post on the blog of M5S founder Beppe Grillo. "If the parties should be deaf to the moral persuasion, we ask him to evaluate the possibility of not signing the law and sending it back to the houses of parliament". The M5S issued a statement saying that forcing the bill through the Lower House via confidence votes was "already an act of violence" and taking the country to the vote with an "unconstitutional" law would "be an irreparable injury to our democracy". The bill, which is now in the Senate, would introduce a two-thirds proportional representation and one-third first-past-the-post system. The M5S have said the law, which encourages parties to team up into coalitions, has been designed to keep them out of power. According to Italian analysts, no party or coalition will come out on top under the proposed system.

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