Napolitano calls for 'rapid' electoral reform
'Parties must make proposals' as 2013 elections near20 July, 14:21
But last week Napolitano chided the parties for "dragging on for weeks" and not capitalizing on common ground struck earlier this year by submitting election-reform proposals to parliament. 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.
The law has earned derision from many experts and even its author, Northern League heavyweight Roberto Calderoli, who famously admitted soon after he conceived it in late 2005 that it was "crap".
The PD, who were in opposition to Berlusconi's government but have joined their centre-right rivals in supporting Premier Mario Monti's emergency administration of technocrats, and the PdL released a statement of areas of agreement in February.
The parties agreed on the need to change the current system and said that voters should be given back the power to choose their representatives.
They also both thought that the new system should be designed to limit political fragmentation, so that there are not too many parties in parliament, and conserve the current party system based on two major rival coalitions.
The parties are trying to reach an agreement for a new system after a proposal for a referendum to change the electoral law was rejected in January by the Constitutional Court.
In Italy the president is the head of state and custodian of the Constitution, making sure that the ministers and parliament are following the rules.
Executive powers lie, however, with the prime minister and the cabinet.