Parties 'reach deal' on reforms motion

New election law, changes to Senate in pipeline

Parties 'reach deal' on reforms motion

Rome, May 28 - The parties supporting Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government on Tuesday reached a deal on a motion on reforms aimed at making Italy easier to govern, Reform Minister Gaetano Quagliariello said. Parliament is set to start work on Wednesday on introducing reforms that will include a new election law to replace the much-criticised current one that failed to produce a clear winner in February's general election. The aim is also to change the current parliamentary set-up in which all laws must be approved by both the House and Senate, seen by many as being one of the major sources of dysfunction for Italy's institutions, and to slash the number of lawmakers. Letta's government aims to keep the Lower House as the main law-making chamber of parliament, while turning the Senate into an assembly of Italian regions. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party and Letta's centre-left Democratic Party have expressed major differences in recent weeks over the election law. The PdL has said it only wants to amend the current law while the PD wants a completely new one to come into force. The motion said the reforms should win definitive approval within 18 months and that any changes to the election law should have broad backing. Quagliariello said the motion was signed by the PD, PdL and ex-premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice party, although the PdL's House whip, Renato Brunetta, said he had not inked it.

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