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Constitutional court delays ruling on election laws

Italy's 'pigsty' voting regulations facing change

03 December, 12:26
Constitutional court delays ruling on election laws (ANSA) - Rome, December 3 - Italy's Constitutional Court said Tuesday that it will need more time to review the country's controversial election laws, the subject of numerous demands for reform.

The court's ruling on the legality of the election laws, which opponents say undermine the democratic rights of Italian voters, was expected this week.

Instead, the court announced that it will postpone until January 14, 2014 its ruling the election laws which Premier Enrico Letta has said his government is anxious to amend. Italy's current election law - passed under a previous government of Silvio Berlusconi and often referred to as Porcellum, or 'pigsty' - has been widely blamed for leading to inconclusive February election results, months of political deadlock, and an unprecedented coalition government of the left and right which is seen as highly volatile.

In May, the supreme Cassation Court called on the Constitutional Court to review the electoral systems by which bonus seats are granted in both the House and Senate.

Critics say the election law also distances 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.