Senate approves bill for gender equality in EP elections
Measure moves to Lower House, set to take effect in 201920 March, 13:47
The measure, which now moves to the Lower House, will not take effect for this May's vote to select new representatives in the European Parliament, but for the elections after that, which are set to take place in 2019.
The bill is the result of a deal between Premier Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), its junior partner in government, the New Centre Right (NCD), and Silvio Berlusconi's opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party.
It passed in the Senate with 157 votes in favour, 34 against and 23 abstentions.
A series of amendments to ensure gender equality to a separate bill for a new system for Italian general elections were rejected before it cleared the Lower House earlier this month.
Renzi has said it may be possible to return to the issue of introducing minimum quotas for women MPs during the election bill's passage through the Senate.
The amendments were rejected after FI said it was against the so-called "pink quotas" as it considered them unconstitutional - even though many women centre-right lawmakers were in favour.
That bill was the result of a deal that Renzi struck with Berlusconi before he became premier last month and the agreement risked breaking down if the amendments had gone through.