Berlusconi says he trusts parliament will pass reforms

'Indispensable to govern country', says ex-premier

Berlusconi says he trusts parliament will pass reforms

Rome, June 5 - Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday said he hoped parliament will pass constitutional reforms to make Italy easier to govern. The three-time premier and center-right leader cited changes to the much-criticized electoral law, a new set-up in which getting laws through parliament would be faster and changes to make the Italian president directly elected by the people, rather than voted in by regional representatives and lawmakers of the Lower House and the Senate. "I hope the majority in parliament can pass reforms of the Constitution which are indispensable to govern the country: a head of government who can name and change ministers, who can use bills without having to request the approval of the head of State, and who can have a bill approved in 90-120 days by one chamber, whose members have possibly been halved", the leader of the People of Freedom Party (PdL) told Rome-based television network TeleRoma 56. A prime minister currently needs to go through the president to appoint and change ministers. A government bill expires if it is not converted into a law approved by both houses of parliament. "And then an important right: that of citizens to elect the head of state directly. I am confident this can happen", he said. Berlusconi's People of Freedom party is backing the left-right coalition government alongside Premier Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party. The ex-premier, who is believed to hold ambitions of becoming president, has reiterated that the government formed in April after inconclusive general elections led to a political deadlock, must focus on reforms, notably Constitutional changes including direct elections of the head of state. Letta's PD is divided over direct presidential elections.

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