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Renzi says new Upper House will have 150 members

PD leader to present reform plan to party later Thursday

06 February, 11:26
Renzi says new Upper House will have 150 members (ANSA) - Florence, February 6 - Matteo Renzi, the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said Thursday that the new Upper House of Italy's parliament will have 150 members, according to a draft reform drawn up after he reached a deal with centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi last month. The Senate is set to become a chamber of regions and be largely stripped of its lawmaking powers as part of reforms designed to make Italy easier to govern and reduce the cost of the country's political apparatus.

The Upper House currently has 315 elected members plus five life Senators.

Renzi said he will present the draft reform at a meeting of the PD, the biggest party in parliament, later on Thursday.

"It will be made up of 150 people, including the 108 mayors of provincial capitals, 21 regional governors and 21 representatives of civil society," Renzi said.

Renzi, the energetic 39-year-old mayor of Florence, has been working hard to introduce much-needed institutional reforms since winning a PD leadership primary with a landslide in December.

A bill for a new election law to replace the dysfunctional system that was declared unconstitutional last year is currently being examined by parliament after Renzi reached an agreement with three-time premier Berlusconi on this issue too. "This is the year in which the problems need to be solved," said Renzi, who is not part of the government led by his PD colleague, Premier Enrico Letta.

"It's no longer enough to stroke the problems. Time is up".