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President says reforms needed for more stable government

Napolitano calls for improvements to make institutions function

17 December, 13:22
President says reforms needed for more stable government (ANSA) - Rome, December 17 - Italy must reform its institutions to ensure greater stability for future governments and end the "endemic weakness" of the past, President Giorgio Napolitano said Tuesday.

"Few now doubt that, in strict compliance with the principles enshrined in the Constitution, we must put an end to the endemic weakness that in the past has characterized the fate of too many governments," Napolitano said in remarks to the diplomatic corps.

He has been pushing for a number of institutional reforms that includes a new electoral law after the former law was struck down earlier this month by the Constitutional Court. The present electoral law led to an inconclusive result in February's general election, because the Democratic Party (PD) did not get a majority in the Senate. In the spring, Napolitano broke a two-month post-election deadlock, in which the PD vainly tried to woo the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo, by cobbling together an unnatural coalition between the PD and its long-time foe, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. The fractious alliance was shaken up when some PdL members broke away from their party to form the New Centre Right (NCD) after making the government a greater priority than Berlusconi's demand they sink the executive because of the PD's insistence on applying an anti-corruption law to eject Berlusconi from the Senate after a tax-fraud conviction. Berlusconi is now at the helm of his revived Forza Italia party.

Other institutional reforms the government is weighing include stripping the Senate of its equal lawmaking status with the House.

Napolitano has also pressed hard for significant prison reforms to end chronic over-crowding.

Tuesday, Napolitano also said that it's time the government shift its focus away from fiscal and budgetary rigor and must now "resolutely take the road of policies for employment and growth".

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