The Italian Council of Ministers approved a draft constitutional reform of the country designed to strengthen the executive branch and ensure greater stability of the country’s political system.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced the decision at a press conference after the meeting.
According to Meloni, constitutional reform has two goals – “to guarantee the right of citizens to decide who governs them” and to ensure that a representative elected by the people can stay in power regardless of the perturbations in parliament.
“I think this is the mother of all reforms that can be done in Italy… Let’s take the time between 2002 and 2022 as an example: Italy had nine prime ministers with twelve different governments, France had four presidents, Germany had three chancellors,” Giorgia Meloni explained.
Since the Second World War, Italy has had almost 70 governments, more than twice as many as the UK and Germany.
Italian government proposes to elect the prime minister by direct vote
The reform, according to the Prime Minister, will involve changing four articles of the Constitution.
The key change is the election of the prime minister by a general, direct vote simultaneously with the lower house of the Italian parliament.
In addition, in case of a vote of no confidence or resignation of the prime minister, a new one will be appointed only from among the members of parliament and under the obligation to implement the government programme of the predecessor – this should put an end to technical governments.
Meloni’s government also proposes to abolish the lifetime tenure of senators, except for former presidents. Those senators who already have lifetime status will retain it. The reform does not affect the powers of the Italian president.
Any amendments to the Italian Constitution must receive a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament, which will be difficult to achieve given the split nature of Italian politics. At the same time, changes can be approved in a referendum.
The last serious attempt to reform the Italian Constitution in 2016 failed. Then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a referendum rejected his proposal to reduce the role of the Senate and regional authorities.