Monti tells parties to close 'credibility gap'

Premier says they must 'improve', reach deal on election law

Monti tells parties to close 'credibility gap'

(see related story) (ANSA) - Helsinki, August 2 - Premier Mario Monti told the country's political parties to close a credibility "gap" they have with the Italian public by quickly reaching an agreement on a new election law. It is the latest in a series of calls from Monti, whose emergency technocrat government relies on the support Italy's three biggest mainstream parties in parliament, for the much-criticised current electoral system to be overhauled in time for general elections next year. "I'm confident that the Italian political parties will reflect on the gap that has formed between the public and the parties in terms of credibility and work to improve themselves and reach an agreement on a new electoral law rapidly, because this gives credibility to the political system too," Monti told reporters in Helsinki. Earlier this week Monti said that using the current system at next year's elections would be the "worst case scenario". Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) have failed to build on the common ground they found on the issue earlier this year. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano recently chided the parties for leaving the issue "dragging on for weeks" amid partisan bickering. The current law has been widely criticised for distancing politicians from voters, who effectively cannot pick their representatives, as party leaders have the power to name candidates on so-called 'blocked lists', which are then voted on. As a result, candidates do not need to champion the concerns of constituents so much but they do need to lobby within their parties to get high enough on the lists to be elected, experts say.

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