Constitutional reform bill launched

Letta has set 18-month deadline

Constitutional reform bill launched

Rome, June 6 - The cabinet on Thursday launched a bill setting out procedures to reform the Italian Constitution to streamline government. Premier Enrico Letta has set an 18-month deadline for the reform, which will be aided by 35 'wise men'. Reforms include a new electoral law, cutting the number of MPs and stripping the Senate of its equal status to the lower house. Law-making is slower in Italy than other countries because the Senate has the same powers as the House. The current electoral law has been widely criticised because it does not let voters pick their MPs and tends to produce different majorities in the two houses, as happened in February's general election which led to two months of deadlock.

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