This is Italy in 2016: youth unemployment at 67% in some areas, especially in the South; first country in Europe for the per- ceived levels of corruption; 11 million people who cannot afford access to health care; about 10 million Italians who live below the poverty line, as defined by EUROSTAT and ISTAT. We are dealing with emergencies on immigration and employment. In light of all this, was it necessary to reform the Constitution? NO. With the power as his disposal, PM Renzi could enact a serious anti-corruption law and a real plan to create jobs and bring into fruition the concept of citizenship income. Instead, he decided to reform the most important set of laws holding the country together and giving it its democratic backbone. Why such hurry? Why force the country to make a choice on something that is not a priority? Because Renzi wants to harness grea- ter personal powers and his colleagues want to secure a job with immunity. This is their priority.
NO. New senators will be appointed from among mayors and councilors, in addition to those appointed by the Head of State. Parliamentary groups and committees will remain in place. We will continue to foot most of the bill for the Senate, namely stipends and indemnities for new senators, the management of real estate and of the entire Senate facility, including services, personnel and so on.
NO. We are again dealing with the number game, the sugar needed to swallow a bitter pill: MP Boschi mentioned a saving in the neighborhood of 490 million Euro per year, and Renzi even mentioned one billion. The State treasury provides a much more reasonable figure: about 57 million Euro. It is a negligible amount compared to the State budget. Just to be clear: by not combining the referendum vote on marine drilling of April 17 with the administrative elections, the Renzi government wasted 300 million Euro.
Aside from the abolition of the CNEL (National Council on Economy and Labor), which we consider appropriate but margi- nal, if this reform passes we will miss the opportunity to really reduce the cost of politics: reducing the number of MPs by half, even those of the Lower House (which has twice as many members as the Senate) would have resulted in double saving; by reducing indemnities, we will also save 4 times as much. At this point, we might as well abolish the Senate, with a saving of up to ten times as much. Even on the CNEL issue, MP Boschi spoke of a saving of 20 million Euro per year, but, with accounting books on hand, it is actually just a bit more than 2 million.
NO. The proposal is to add 10 legislative paths to travel in order to approve a law, and about 22 categories of legislative pro- visions will require the approval of both Senate and Lower House. This will lead not only to an increase in “rebounds”, but also to inevitable conflicts concerning what category a law belongs to, and, therefore, how it must be debated and who has to approve it. The ping pong between the Lower House and Senate could go on months.
YES. The new senators cannot be wiretapped, searched and even detained without the authorization of their own colleagues. Regional adviser or auditor duties could hardly be distinguished from those of senator, and any inquiries may be met with serious obstacles, if not blocked altogether. Let’s keep in mind that we are talking about Italy’s most corrupted political class.
NO. The Senate will always have the chance to propose amendments to existing laws, which the Lower House will be able to reject only with a majority vote. On a range of issues, such as reform of the Constitution and local self-governing, the Senate will retain its current powers, so, bicameralism will stay.
NO. Senators will be elected by regional councils. Although a paragraph of the proposed reform indicates that senators will be elected in a manner “consistent with the choice of the electorate”, that particular paragraph refers to the length of their man- date. It is one of the many negative upshots engendered by this constitutional reform, but the result is the same: the senators would no longer elected directly by citizens; politicians will be chosen by other politicians, and, therefore, will not safeguard the homeland and represent citizens, but only advance the interests of the parties to which they belong.
NO. The government - not Parliament - can decide whether or not a state law can be under regional purview. It is easy to ima- gine that the government will act as the maker and breaker even when it comes to regional jurisdiction.
NO. The reform will increase uncertainty and litigation, as it already happened with the 2001 ruinous reform promoted by the Center-Left. This reform does not contemplate mechanisms of conflict resolution when it comes to matters under the purview of Lower House and Senate, nor will it allay conflicts between State and regions: even if a law is passed by the new Senate, nothing will prevent a dissenting region from raising issues of the constitutionality of the law. /p>
NO, it hampers it. The number of signatures required to propose a law will be tripled, from 50.000 to 150.000. New referenda will have to be introduced with a new constitutional law and, subsequently, by a further ordinary law.
YES, but lowering the quorum (equivalent to the majority of voters in the last election) only applies to a referendum that is supported by 800,000 signatures.
With 3/5 of voters, the majority can elect the President of the Republic. As for the election of five judges of the Constitutional Court, Parliament will not have to convene in joint session, but judges can be chosen separately by the two Chambers. The Senate will chose two judges and the Lower House three. Bodies overseeing State activities will no longer be selected by a majority, because such bodies must be elected in a manner ensuring their impartiality and independence.
NO. With centralization slanted in the State’s favor, to the detriment of regions, and, within the State, in the Executive’s favor, to the detriment of citizens and their parliamentary representation, this reform does not unite, but divides. The sovereignty recognized to the people in Article 1 will vanish.
NO. A reform like this, in many respects, was made by the Berlusconi government 10 years ago, and citizens rejected it with the 2006 Constitutional referendum. At the time, the leaders of the Democratic Party said that it was a dangerous reform, due to the terms in which the Berlusconi government has framed it and to its contents, while today, they are trying to impose a reform with an undemocratic majority.
NO, just the opposite is true. If this reform passes, those who win the elections will have the majority in the Lower House, while the Senate will be under the control of the party that has the majority in most regions. Institutional chaos may ensue. Whoever wins the election may have to deal with a majority in the Senate that may change every year as a result of regional elections; each reform in progress will be halted and we will no longer be able to remedy the dramatic errors that this reform will engender.
YES, but only on paper; in reality, we will NOT. Indeed, this reform, coupled with the electoral reform, engenders a masked presidentialism devoid of the typical balance inherent in our current governing systems. The laws of the government will always be fast-tracked, the government will impose laws upon Parliament and affect the composition of overseeing consti- tutional bodies (the Constitutional Court, the Head of State, and the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM)) and that of independent authorities. In addition, the supremacy clause will still give the government, rather than the Lower House or the Senate, the power to override regions.