Triumphant Renzi strikes new election-law deal
'This time it's for real' says center-left leader29 January, 20:10
The deal became final when the PD and FI agreed to lower a vote threshold for small parties in a coalition from 5% to 4.5%.
Renzi said the move would force small parties to compromise in parliament. "No more power to blackmail from small parties," said Renzi on Facebook. The old law allowed small parties to enter parliament with relatively few votes, even outside a coalition. Under the new law, small parties will have no choice but to compromise and ally in a coalition. "With our deal on the election law, despite the professional naysayers, this step forward is enormous," added Renzi.
It did not come without risk. Stalwarts in his center-left party were outraged when he agreed to negotiate directly with Berlusconi, an act they said helped rehabilitate the three-time premier's image since his ejection from parliament last year.
That move came after a supreme court found him guilty of tax fraud in his first-ever binding conviction in 20 years of legal entanglements. But it did not strip him of his title as head of the biggest center-right party in Italy, a point Renzi stressed throughout negotiations. He countered by putting pressure on his PD colleague Premier Enrico Letta, warning his government would fall if the law was not passed. When the deal became final, Letta said it was "good news".
"The institutional reform, the election law and the end of the system of having two equally powerful houses of parliament, which is obsolete for our country, are fundamental for stability and in order for our country to progress," he added.