The Politics of Entropy

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Italy’s upper house of parliament approved a proposed constitutional overhaul this week that would allow the prime minister to be directly elected, an ambitious reform measure that has prompted fears of authoritarianism and further chaos in Italian politics, Reuters reported.

Dubbed “the mother of all reforms” by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the overhaul would allow voters to elect the prime minister for five years, while the coalition supporting the winning candidate would be given at least 55 percent of seats to ensure a workable majority in both houses of parliament.

Meloni has pushed for the changes, claiming that it will help end political instability in Italy, which has been dogged by nearly 70 administrations since the end of World War Two.

But critics warned that reform will create more uncertainty in Italian politics, adding that it would also prevent the country from responding quickly to future crises.

Constitutional scholars also launched an appeal against Meloni’s proposal, saying it presented “various alarming aspects” and would cause “irreparable contradictions” in the country’s charter.

They added that the president’s position “would be reduced to a notary role and would risk losing his function as an arbiter and guarantor,” according to Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), Italy’s main news wire.

An op-ed in Politico said, “The optics are terrible,” adding that the measure is reminiscent of another introduced by Benito Mussolini a century ago that paved the way to dictatorship.

The government has rejected accusations that it is trying to weaken the legislature and the president’s role in order to instigate authoritarian rule.

The bill will now go to the lower house of parliament, but analysts believe that the reform will most likely need to be put to a referendum, ANSA reported separately.

Under Italian law, constitutional amendments need a two-thirds majority in both houses to avoid a referendum, and the overhaul did not receive the two-thirds majority in the upper house.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at [email protected].

Copy link